Music Resolution 2009 – Doves/Super Furry Animals, Manchester Central, 18th December
Join me and my New Year’s Resolution to go to at least one gig every month of 2009.
Yey! Did it! One musical resolution kept even if it was by the skin of my teeth sometimes. And what a good way to end the whole shebang, with a homecoming (ish) gig by one of the most underrated bands of the decade – Doves. Not just a homecoming, but an over-the-top, bells and whistles extravaganza, featuring big screens and multiple cameras, suggesting that it might just be possible to relive this experience again. Surely this will be coming out as a live DVD?
If not it’ll be a wasted opportunity, that’s for sure. It’s really saying something that the Super Furry Animals were outdone in the props and tricks department. With a relatively short half hour slot, there wasn’t time for the full range of SFA tricks, but they did kick off ‘Slow Life’ with a man in a John Lennon mask waving signs reading “Applause” and “Woah” at the audience who, to their credit, applauded and woahed on request. It was mostly bigger hits on display, and they still possess the almighty cathartic tune which is ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’ – a track which never seems to lack relevance, sadly.
And so to the main attraction – a band who seemed more delighted and overwhelmed than perhaps any other I have eve encountered live. The three Doves – Jimi, Andy and Jez – all grew up in one of Manchester’s many commuter (i.e. bitch) towns, and headlining the 10,000 capacity venue that they stubbornly refer to by its old (i.e. proper) name of GMEX, clearly meant a hell of a lot to them. Thus they cracked out a wide ranging and excellently chosen set.
Tracks like ‘Jetsteams’ and ‘Kingdom Of Rust’ from their latest albums sounded as familiar as the older stuff, and were just well received. The latter, the band’s self described “country song” even inspired a moshpit which surprised Jez into comment. Then there was ‘Black And White Town’ – a song which perfectly captures living in those satellite bitch towns. Few songs sum up my own teenage years so effortlessly. A beered up, enthusiastic Mancunian crowd is one of the most exciting you can find yourself in, and fortunately Doves don’t seem to attract the total dickheads which the more laddish likes of Oasis and The Courtneers attract.
Certainly those laddish bands would never even consider enlisting the London Bulgarian Choir, whose presence gave soaring harmonies to the already utterly wonderful likes of ‘The Cedar Room’ and the usually instrumental ‘Firesuite’ which sounded quite simply epic. Leaving the choir to perform in he gap between the main set and the encore was a masterstroke as they held the audience’s attention through their interweaving harmonies and the sheer passion of their performance.
And exactly the same could be said of Doves themselves. They’ve not quite achieved the break through that fellow (almost) Mancs Elbow managed last year, but it doesn’t matter – on home terrain they rule like kings, and it was an excellent show, one which has reignited my love for them (a love which has lapsed a little recently) and which demonstrates that bands who care, about their music and about their fans, can sometimes get what they deserve.