Thursday, May 28, 2009

Doves in Denver

Doves performing 'Caught by the River' at the Gothic Theatre in DenverNan and I just returned from an extended Memorial Day weekend in Boulder and Denver. Last night we saw one of our favorite bands, Doves, play at The Gothic Theatre, a small converted movie house in Englewood, south of downtown Denver. For me, it was the highlight of the trip.

My friend Dave Beckwith introduced me to Doves several years ago when he gave me a mix CD that included "Melody Calls", a song off Lost Souls, their first album. A few years later he gave me another mix CD that included "Some Cities", the title track off their third album. As Dave would say, I found it "compelling." I picked up the album and couldn't put it down. I bought Lost Souls and then The Last Broadcast, their second album. I even bought Lost Sides, their "B sides" album. It was all eminently listenable. I was a huge fan of the "Manchester sound," a type of dance-oriented music made popular by bands like New Order and The Smiths in the 1980s, and Doves, also being from Manchester, sounded like the natural progression of that music.

The concert started off with "Jetstream" off their new album, Kingdom of Rust, and then went straight to "Snowden" from Some Cities. From there, Doves balanced new material with old for almost two hours. The highlight for me was "Caught by the River" off The Last Broadcast, one of the best and most emotional songs I've heard in the last ten years. It tells the story of a father coming to terms with a son who is beyond his help, and it features a gorgeous acoustic guitar and keyboard soundscape. When people ask me what music I like, I have them listen to that song. The photo above shows the band playing it live.

I read a review recently that referred to Doves as "the best band you've never heard of." Maybe that's why they play tiny venues like the Gothic for just $20 a head. I expect that situation will change as they continue to produce exceptional music and gain a larger following. They certainly deserve the success.

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