Doves taking a nine-year hiatus before returning to cover pretty much the entire UK festival season was having an effect on frontman Jimi Goodwin.
The summer weather has been of the fairly typical mud and cold generating type, leaving the singer with a fraction of his normal voice. Raising a tankard of honey and lemon to the audience (‘very f***ing rock ’n’ roll’), Goodwin nevertheless soldiered on through a set of the rejuvenated three piece’s very greatest hits.
Zebedee Yard in Hull is everything that a city centre gig venue should be, a shrunken Somerset House, its maritime era buildings surrounding what is by day a small car park, by night the same structures acting to bounce both light and sound around the not quite capacity audience. An audience though which lent their not inconsiderable support to Goodwin, knowing every lyric that the vocalist rasped out.
Ironically the first and closing tracks were instrumentals, Doves emerging to Firesuite and leaving, quite brilliantly, to Space Face, a cover from their Sub Sub previous life. In between were sandwiched a plethora of tracks that have served to define the band throughout their existence since the current incarnation came into being in 1998.
Most people have a favourite Doves track, or at least think they do before seeing their live set. Every time the mind settles on one, along comes another. Sea Song was a resounding success but when followed by the soaring Last Broadcast minds get changed. Then there’s Kingdom of Rust, a great track which then gets overshadowed by Pounding, only then to be pushed back by Winter Hill.
It’s here that Goodwin adopts all sorts of throat spray and associated tactics, the main one being letting guitarist and drumming brothers Jez and Andy Williams take some of the strain, the audience the rest. Which in actual fact turns out to be a very low risk strategy to conclude the gig, as it does with The Cedar Room and There Goes The Fear before the thumping Space Face.
Goodwin has two more summer shows to limp through before the band reportedly head back into the studio to record new material. None of that was on show tonight but rather a nostalgic trip through the band’s four studio albums, all containing such a number of instantly recognisable tracks it feels like there should be a whole lot more. Should this be the beginning of a third reinvention, then there may be many more nights like this.