Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeMaking a second pass through Chicago on their current tour, The Doves were far from disingenuous but also far from energized during their hour-and-a-half set that begged to go a few songs deeper. The glass of red wine atop frontman Jimi Goodwin's bass cabinet fit the bill as the songs were sonically friendly and a bit sluggish. The set began with the signature thumping of "Snowden" and then the progressively driving "Sky Starts Falling"-- both from the latest release Some Cities.
As the small but responsive crowd was beginning to warm up, The Doves barely rocked the boat with the gentle waves of "Where We're Calling From" and "Almost Forgot Myself." After a botched beginning, and a few laughs, in "Sea Song", The Doves were quick to start over and raise the chop with the tune that challenges the listener with the tossing back and forth of a waltz and standard rock rhythm. As the gentle lapping of "Eleven Miles Out" swelled over time, the dense instrumental fog of "Ambition" slowly rolled in and later covered the crowd in a blanket of warm vocals. Perhaps catching a second wind, Jez Williams, on guitar, and brother Andy Williams, on drums, raised the tempo in "Last Broadcast," and helped keep the fire going through "One of These Days."
Showing multi-instrumental talent in the encore, Andy provided a tip-of-the-hat to King Crimson's "Moonchild" with intimate vocals on "M62 Song." Further switching things up, Goodwin pulled up a seat behind the drums and pounded away to Jez now playing harmonica. As the band resumed their usual positions on stage, Goodwin jokingly started up a few lines of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" before taking back the reigns with his precise bass playing and equally precise voice on "Some Cities." With the crowd wanting more, The Doves were content to wrap things up with the encore-ending hit "There Goes The Fear." Though the sails of The Doves's ship never seemed to fill completely, the ride they offered was steady and scenic.
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