When it comes to England’s Doves, it’s best to drop any natural impulse to compare the Britpop trio with Radiohead, Travis, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Oasis or any of a number of outfits from the other side of the Atlantic. As evidenced by the group’s 90-minute set at House of Blues Anaheim on Friday night, May 15, 2009, singer-bassist Jimi Goodwin, guitarist-vocalist Jez Williams and drummer Andy Williams continue to be as inventive, interesting and talented as their better-known musical counterparts.
While songs such as “Jetstream” and “Winter Hill” -– both off the band’s latest album, Kingdom of Rust –- are accessible and melodic, there are also dense layers of sound and incredible arrangements that fully come across despite the obvious challenges of playing in front of an enthusiastic, capacity crowd. The country-western rhythm that propels Kingdom’s title cut and the hard-edged attack of “The Outsider” are obvious illustrations of Doves’ wide-ranging approach, and the simultaneously eerie and artful atmospherics worked as well live as they do in the recording studio.
Doves, whose sound was enhanced this night by a keyboardist, performed much of the time in front of a large screen upon which dramatic images were projected, heightening the band’s cinematic approach. Other key moments that displayed firepower: the arresting “Almost Forgot Myself,” the reflective “Ambition” and the wistful “There Goes the Fear.”
Opening for Doves was New Hampshire-based Wild Light, an energetic quartet that served up a strong set of ’80s-influenced rock enlivened by keyboards. The highlights of the outfit’s set were the driving electronic rocker “My Father Was a Horse” and “California on My Mind,” the latter a song in which the drummer used a tambourine in his right hand and a stick in his left to achieve a particularly interesting dynamic mixed with great singing