When a band tours, it's going to mean different things to different people. Some of us only show up to hear the hits, and then there are those freaks who actually want to hear the new material the guys on-stage are invariably there to plug.
I always thought that by and large I fell into the former category, but seeing Doves at the Commodore on Thursday, May 21 was a revelation: not only do I really like the new material, but I was also clamouring to hear more of it.
Okay, the vodka shots may have helped my enthusiasm, but whatever the reason, I couldn't help but dance along, grinning like an idiot all the while, to classics both established and in the making.
Since this was my first chance to experience the boys live, it was all new and shiny to me, so I can only assume they left “Catch the Sun” off the set list for a good reason—in fact, 2000's Lost Souls was largely ignored—but among the new material was a reliable sprinkling of the old barnburners like "Black and White Town" and the most appropriately monikered "Pounding". Doves' signature sound has always had that unique ability to sound both melancholic and uplifting at the same time, and on this particular night the sound mix at the Commodore brought out the best of both—the soaring guitars on "Words" and new favourite "Kingdom of Rust" sounded good enough to lift me straight up to a heaven I don't believe in.
Overall, the boys in the band were looking pretty pleased to be there, giving the crowd a relaxed, happy performance that rocked in all the right places. I feel damn confident in declaring that if you weren't a rabid Doves fan at the start of the show, you certainly had a burning need to hit the merch table by the time the band returned for its encore. In particular, the new album Kingdom of Rust, which made up the majority of the show, plays especially well live, which bodes well for future tours when tracks like "10:03" and "The Greatest Denier" should be part of the permanent roster.
Openers Wild Light, coming to us from that rock ’n’ roll hotbed, New Hampshire, did an excellent job of warming up the crowd for the headliners, if for no other reason than because they sound a lot like them. The sweeping guitars and matching harmonies delivered an equal dose of U2 and, well, Doves—which to me was not a bad thing at all. Any guitar act worth its Stratocasters would do well to keep these guys on their short list of opening acts.