Doves and Magazine

BBC Electric Proms 2009 review with videos

published: Mon 26th Oct 2009

Doves video

Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th October 2009
The Roundhouse, and various venues in London , England
various from free to £25
last updated: Wed 23rd Sep 2009

Having played at more festivals this year than many bands would bother with, Doves have pushed themselves massively over the last year after their release of their fourth album 'Kingdom of Rust'. Playing the BBC Electric Proms seems to be a fitting way for them to finish their year with a bit of magic. Not being content with just playing a regular set, or adding some violins they decided to collaborate with the London Bulgarian choir... not the easiest of partners by any means.

Opening the night were Magazine. Not a band I'd usually watch I was intrigued to see how they sounded. Playing songs only from their single releases (a-sides and b-sides) they kept to the hits knowing how to please the crowd. The funky basslines which cut across with tight guitar riffs didn't quite seem to gel against Howard Devoto's quirky half spoken singing and jilted movements. This was, however, perfect post-punk. How a journalist (back in the day) described the song 'Give Me Everything' as one of the most sexist songs ever written baffles me...How times have changed.

Having already seen Doves a couple of times this year, my expectations were high but they easily met them and raised the bar. Opening with 'Snowden' there was no mistaking this was going to be a special set. The pure sound generated in the Roundhouse worked perfectly with the intricately crafted balance of the music with Jimi Goodwin's vocals clearly rising out. I don't know many (if any) other venues where you can hear songs word for word while still feeling the bass vibrate through you. This meant 'Winter Hill' was pretty much perfect as far as songs go. Topping it off with lighting effects which made it look like you were trapped in a musical snow-globe. Well worth a watch!

Introducing the London Bulgarian Choir to the show, 'Firesuite' captured the moment perfectly. The 40-strong choir start a Mesmerising chant before the band came in with sharp drumming and laid back bass. The dissonant vocals bring a haunting beauty to the normally instrumental piece. Following this up with '10:03' highlighted how perfectly matched the choir were with Jimi's own vocal style. The cheer just as the song broke after its long build-up made me smile.

'Pounding' and 'Jetstream' got the crowd waving their arms and singing along before the Choir come back in for 'The Storm' adding their unconventional edge to a song that is a better album track than live. Playing hit after hit, the seamless set just grew and grew as the night went on. With a healthy balance of songs from all their albums, the normally fairly static band were obviously enjoying every second of being on stage, playing to a crowd that seems to be torn between staring in awe or dancing.

By the time 'Kingdom of Rust' started the spine tingling sensation of excitement had firmly kicked in. A rare treat followed – on request from the LBC – lead Doves to play 'Catch the Sun', a song which Jimi said they had not played in about 8 years. The 'shiny-happy-people-like' cheesiness was fantastic and had everyone singing along without care. Before the band came back on stage for the encore the Choir treated us to an interlude with some added extras from Baluji Shrivastav playing Sitar. The set climaxed with 'Birds Flew Backwars', 'Cedar Room' and the classic drumming finale on 'There Goes The Fear'.

With a four year break before their last album, I hope they don't disappear off the radar again because after a performance like this they've shown the strength of their songs, old and new, are up there with the best.

You can check out Doves and Magazine performing at BBC Electric Proms 2009 - just play the videos below!

Set list:
2.Winter Hill
7.The Storm
8.Black & White Town
9.Sea Song
10.Greatest Denier
11.Kingdom of Rust
12.Last Broadcast
13.Catch The Sun
14.Birds Flew Backwards (with Baluji Shrivastav)
15.Cedar Room
16.The Fear

review by: Chris Mathews

Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th October 2009
The Roundhouse, and various venues in London , England
various from free to £25
last updated: Wed 23rd Sep 2009

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