It was like welcoming old friends back into the fold – Manc band Doves were back on Teesside to a packed Empire.
Singer and bassist Jimi Goodwin acknowledged this connection mid-gig by reminiscing: “The last time we were here was 16 years ago when we were in Sub Sub.”
The trio have come along way since the days of Ain’t No Love Ain’t No Use, as their comeback gig showed.
The band claim they have spent the last three years holed up in a barn writing new material.
If chewing the cud amongst the haybales produces results like this then maybe we could all take a leaf out of Doves’ book.
An overcrowded venue didn’t spoil the atmosphere as Doves launched into opening song, the Kraftwerk-inspired Jetstream.
Then for the most part, the band alternated between songs from previous albums Lost Souls, The Last Broadcast and Some Cities and the new album Kingdom of Rust.
The big hits, including Pounding, Black and White Town and Caught By The River were defining moments of the night.
New songs including The Outsiders, 10:03 and title track Kingdom of Rust took a while to get going but I’m hoping they will be growers and get a similar reaction in years to come.
The venue was oversold for its size, with little room to even tap a foot never mind a good bop.
But the Boro gig was so good I’m considering booking a ticket for Doves’ next North-East gig, at the bigger Newcastle Academy on April 27.