Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Doves, Doves, Doves! Doves! DOVES! DOVES! D_O_V_E_S!!!! A thousand times – Doves! I am in love my friends. The rocks may melt and the land may burn – I don't care. Launch a freakin' war. Bring on the nukes and boil the oceans – I DON'T FREAKIN' CARE: I am in love! I am thick, and ripe, and ready to burst with the juice of love, baby, and it tastes just like Doves.

So, fair warning here: Doves The Last Broadcast seems to have become the megalomaniacal soundtrack to my life.

I fell for Doves when I first heard "Crunch" on KEXP. It sounded like something I was remembering from the future. It actually sounded like the music that plays in my head when I am snowboarding. Hell – it sounds LIKE snowboarding. I should be in a goddamn Dawg film, with this playing behind me while I freekin' shred like Jesus (who, little known fact, was HUGE into 'boarding – what do you think he did during those lost years? I'm saying: shredding on the Mount, and hookin' up with 'boarder boys. Look it up in the Dead Sea Scrolls, if you don't believe me.)

So, anyway, I find Doves thanks to the grace of God and KEXP six months ago. Because I am dumb, it takes me another couple months to finally get The Last Broadcast – but then the deal is done: the river is run, the course is set, the beast is in the belly of the whale, or something like that. I am in love.

With Doves, yes, but also with Jimi Goodwin, the defacto lead of Doves, the mad Mancuinan, my true and only love, born in Manchester, England, across the Atlantic Sea. And I'm a genius – I find him only through finding his music, and the miracle of that newfangled "Inter-Net". And I miss the first Doves show in Seattle by a freekin' week. Weak.

When I learned that Doves were coming back to Seattle on October 3rd, I was afrenzy with madcap planning. I should go to the show, of course, where Jimi would see me in the crowd, and pull me up on stage. We would sing together, because the thrill of the moment will grant me a preternaturally good voice, and I've by now memorized the lyrics to all the songs. We'll fall in love, there, on stage, in front of God and everyone, and I'll ride in the bus up to Vancouver with them. It all made perfect sense.

Alas, I am here to report that, while my planning seemed to be flawless in nature, I am not, as of this moment in the Doves tour bus riding up to BC. So close though – if only Jimi had opened his eyes whilst singing during the show…..

It happened like this: Thursday night, at the Showbox. I arrive just as My Morning Jacket is finishing up their set, and am completely wowed by the final tune they were closing out their set with. Don't ask me what it was, I'm just here to tell you that these long-haired Kentuckians were kicking some serious ass jamming up on the stage, and the crowd was nuts for them. They vacate the stage, and I vow to purchase their CD Chocolate and Ice, and am off to get a drink and scope out the 'Box in the interregnum.

So, after a spell of frantic setup by the roadies in matching shirts, the moment I've been dreaming of arrives; Doves – Jimi Goodwin, Andy Williams and Jez Williams – come out onto the stage to widespread acclaim.

They start with "Pounding", arguably my fave off of The Last Broadcast, and as those of you who live in my mind know, this is the song played as Jimi and I completely evade Interplanetary Police by wakeboarding through the atmosphere of Jupiter. Live, it does not disappoint. The guys sounded great – a bit heavier on the guitars and weaker in the vocals than on the disc, but still amazing.

They move seamlessly into the big radio hit "There Goes the Fear", and it, too, sounds amazing. The vid screen behind them is showing random clips of some uber-60's-Brit couple riding alternately in a train and then a convertible car. The music is truly as seamless as it sounds in the radio edit. I can tell that my boys here know what the hell they are doing, and they absolutely love it.

They the step down a notch, and move into "Sea Song" off of Lost Souls. I don't know Lost Souls as well as I should, but this song makes me want to go study up. It's mournful and compelling, and appropriately, makes me think of the time that Jimi and I drove to the ocean….oops – sorry about that. More megalomaniacal fantasy, that was.

After a bit of trouble with the equipment, they sound test with a funkified cover of the Knight Rider theme song. Oh, my heart is bursting! I love them soooo much!

"Words" has a swirling, driving beat and stand-out guitar theme that makes me want to fly fighter jets and nuke the shit out of the folks who have pissed me off. It also makes me want to institute a generous Marshall Plan to assist them afterwards. It's really the yin and the yang of warfare for me. {wow! that song knocked me out, too, when I saw them back in June! -igLiz}

"Words they meant nothing/ So you can't hurt me/ On summer days like these/ I said words they mean nothing/ So you can't stop me/ I said your eyes, they say nothing/ So you can't fault me/ I said words they mean nothing/ So you can't hurt me…"

"N.Y.", as better minds than mine have noted, is perhaps the best paean to that great city that has ever been written. It is simultaneously anguished and joyful, truly evoking a sense of endless possibility, and the sense of overwhelming choice that comes with it.

Two standout tracks from the remainder of the set were "Catch the Sun" from Lost Souls, and the next big radio hit from The Last Broadcast – "Caught by the River". They both sounded great – better than the CDs – through that ineffable miracle of live music played by a band that really loves what it is playing.

The band closes out the set with "The Cedar Room", which is marred only by Jimi's insistence that he is having voice trouble. Poor lad – we can't hear it though, and it's only because he tells us that we know why he is acting a wee bit cranky.

The band departs, and it takes the crowd a minute or two to work up into true "we want an encore!" mode. I have a momentary flash of panic that this lackluster response is going to deny us more Doves, but it is quickly lifted with the return of Jimi and company to the stage.

After treating us to two more songs from Lost Souls the encore and the show end with the fabled "Space Face". I'd heard of this track, written back in the day when Doves was still SubSub, and all I can say is I was not disappointed.

With scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey on the vid screen (and clips from 2010, too) Doves breaks out one of the best pieces of their dance/trance/house/spacerock past. The guys are jamming, obviously completely in love with this tune. Even the slack-ass Showbox audience is digging it, dancing with more passion than they've shown all night. I have to admit it, rocking out to "Space Face" at the end of this show, with the monolith-delivered final message from 2010 flashing on the screen made me tear up a wee bit. "All these worlds are yours…", says the Monolith.

Indeed. All these worlds are yours, Doves. Use them together, use them in peace. Well, except Europa. Even you guys don't get Europa.