Gig review: Black Rivers at Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Black Rivers at the Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds. Picture: David Hodgson
Black Rivers at the Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds. Picture: David Hodgson
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The Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds is fast developing a reputation for being one of the region’s most important venues for bands seeking to establish themselves.

Black Rivers are Jez and Andy Williams, two thirds of the very well established band Doves who although currently in abeyance, had two number one albums and regularly played much larger venues and festivals. That level of experience and musicianship was very much apparent both here and on their eponymously titled debut album, released earlier in March.

After a false start requiring some rewiring, the opening track was perhaps surprisingly the instrumental and haunting Harbour Lights, but when this led into the electronics from long time live collaborator Rebelski on The Ship, the driving drum rhythm of Age of Innocence and single The Forest, it was clear here were musicians of the very highest calibre.

The vocals were at slightly too low a volume throughout but with the biggest crowd responses being saved for the Doves tracks in the set, notably Black & White Town and Pounding.

By the time the band left the stage after encores of their own composition, particularly the latest single Voyager 1, the crowd of 200 or so were wanting more.

The set was disappointingly short, at around 50 minutes, but then this gig was following a support slot with Elbow and an impending sold out arena tour with the acerbic Noel Gallagher, so Black Rivers are still establishing themselves and their songs in their own right.

They don’t need to fill a set with songs from a previous life and with Doves’ lead singer Jimi Goodwin fulfilling his own solo aspirations it is unclear if or when the band will reunite.

Black Rivers are clearly strong enough in their own right and rapidly building a reputation of their own. More headline slots follow in the UK in May, then various festival appearances.

Gig date: March 2