Live - Doves Soar In San Francisco

OK. It's official. Bands from Manchester RULE; it wasn't like this was a new thought process for me, the fact was just reiterated last night. It was a double dose last night at the
Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, with both opener Elbow and
headliners Doves hailing from the music and football (ever heard of Manchester
United?) mecca. It was also a bit of a mutual love fest as both bands professed their
excitement at being on the bill with one another. How cute!

The heart-felt downtempo groovers known as Elbow hit the stage first and played
a 40-minute set. Nothing overly new in the set, as I had seen them four times previously
touring on debut album Asleep In The Back, but that didn't make their live
renditions any less enthralling. The bottom line is that Guy Garvey can write a
tune and hearing jams like "Powder Blue," "Any Day Now," "Red," and "Newborn" live
just reinforces that theory. Garvey remarked on the beautiful weather of the day
(it was an unseasonably warm 80ish) and how fired up they were to be opening for one
of their favorite bands on the planet and scooted off the stage. Solid effort from a
promising act and I just hope they get a chance soon to record some new material as last
night's performance has whetted my appetite for further arm joint music.

The men of the hour came on stage to a DAT recording of "Intro" the uh, introduction to
their stunning sophomore album The Last Broadcast, which just happened to hit
shelves this week. Once on stage frontman and bassist Jimi Goodwin ALSO
remarked on the warm weather saying he understood that it was contrary to the usual
weather and DEFINITELY different than what could be expected in their much colder
hometown. He led the band into the aptly-titled "Pounding," with the stand-in drummer
(Andy was home sick in the UK) doing just that to his drum kit for the fastest
song on the new record. "There Goes The Fear" was next and Doves
trademarked behind-stage video fest kicked into high gear. A psychedelic mindfuck of a
story ensued, involving a mid-life crisised man running away from his life, interspersed
with flashbacks of some '60s hottie and him as a child running through fields of flowers,
and on to a train to take him from the UK to RIO DE JANEIRO. Not sure how that train
works, exactly, but if it's as twisted as this short film, I want a ticket. The visual onslaught
took another turn a few songs later during "New York," when scenes of 1930s-ish New
York City were mixed with clips of ship launches of the same era. Dirigible footage was
also in the mix and all the shots of New York brought to mind a simpler time, when
people got all fired up because a big new boat was being sent into the water for the first
DIRIGIBLES EXPLODING, Hindenburg stylee. Jesus. Settle down
already, art director.

Songs from both albums were highlighted, with "Sea Song," "Catch The Sun," and
"Cedar Room" featuring from the debut, Lost Souls, as well as first encore
number "Here It Comes." The quartet (a keyboard player was with them for the tour)
closed out their 75-minute set with the most mind-blowing rendition of "Spaceface," the
lone leftover from their pre-Doves days as dance chancers Sub Sub, that
I'd ever heard them play. It was as if they got 100 times louder and more full sounding,
with the beats hitting as hard as Barry Bonds and the bass rumbling like the
Space Shuttle on the pad at Canaveral. It was a truly visceral experience, the mixing of
dance and rock genres, and proof that the band could still have much success if they had
followed their initial career path instead.

The set list, as best I can remember it:


There Goes The Fear

Sea Song



Friday's Dust

New York


Catch The Sun

Caught By The River

Cedar Room

Here It Comes


Live - Doves Soar In San Francisco