As the lights dim, and the torch flashes from stage to sound desk, I can honestly say I have not been this excited about a gig in Edinburgh for a long while. I remember seeing Doves playing T on the Fringe (R.I.P) way back in 2002 at the Corn Exchange when they were introduced by one Peter Kay and it was most definitely one of the finest gigs in memory, even at a venue that I am not overly fond of.
Fast forward 8 years to a revamped Revolution in the shape of the HMV Picture House and Doves have a stage and crowd worthy of their music.
In the days leading up to the gig, I had revisited their back catalogue and despite only having released 4 studio albums in their twelve year existence, theirs is most definitely a case of quality over quantity. The excitement was tangible amongst the near capacity crowd as to which songs they would choose to treat us to from their recent ‘Best of’ compilation.
Beginning with the relatively unknown B-side ‘Push Me On’ was perhaps not the wisest of choices then as not many people seemed to know it, myself included but it was soon into familiar territory with the incredible ‘Snowden’ which tonight sounds reminiscent of British Sea Power in their pomp.
Barely pausing for breath, save for a simple ‘Hello’ they then launch into three songs in a row from their album Kingdom of Rust in ‘Winter Hill’ ‘Jetstream’ and ‘10:03’ which gets the crowd firmly onside, not that their was ever any danger of losing them. Singer Jimi Goodwin cracks a joke about the Edinburgh Festival and how the locals must hate it but the upside is his band gets to play and few in the audience would disagree, far too often promoters overlook the capital as a potential date on a bands tour.
An oldie in ‘Rise’ from their debut album ‘Lost Souls’ is then greeted like an old friend by those who can remember it from back in the day and it sounds as fresh today as it did 10 years ago and what follows surely cements this as being a ‘Were you there gig?’
Title tracks from ‘Last Broadcast’ and ‘Kingdom of Rust’ are as an impressive a one-two blow as you can hit a crowd with, the latter in particular threatens to tear the roof of the place with its western-esque parlance and Johnny Cash rhythm; needless to say they receive the reception they fully deserve. And as if to cement their reputation as one of the finest indie bands of our time they play a showstopping version of ‘Black and White Town’ to top that off.
By now this is a band doing a lap of honour, one handed, with a fist in the air. The crowd are at near delirium and are not ready to go home just yet so as the band come back on for an encore to play the anthemic ‘Pounding’ which is perhaps the song of the evening. As Jimi Goodwin then teases the crowd with the opening lines to ‘There Goes The Fear’ a cappella it starts to hit home that this may be the last we see of this band for some time as they are set to take an extended break from touring. It adds poignancy to the song and as an extra bass drum and snare is brought on for a Brazilian style outro the place is in full on party mode…on a Sunday night! Not many bands can pull that off
Sensing that the crowd has a bit more energy to burn, the Sub Sub classic ‘Spaceface’ is unleashed, complete with ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ clips on the big screen. A nostalgic nod to their previous incarnation, it is a euphoric end to an absolutely outstanding gig and one that will live long in the memory of those who were fortunate to be there.