Doves, Hammersmith Palais, London

5.00

Their most humble majesties

Doves have always given good gig. Tonight, however, is a very different proposition. Gone are the pre-show short films featuring the band driving a milk float across the Moors. Gone is the blokey between-song banter from the front man, Jimi Goodwin. Gone, indeed is the notion of a front man altogether.

Doves have always given good gig. Tonight, however, is a very different proposition. Gone are the pre-show short films featuring the band driving a milk float across the Moors. Gone is the blokey between-song banter from the front man, Jimi Goodwin. Gone, indeed is the notion of a front man altogether.

What we do get is a band who have freshly emerged from the Parr Studios, in Liverpool - where Coldplay have just completed their third album - and Fort Augustus, by Loch Ness, having made an album, Some Cities, that could prove to be their Rush of Blood to the Head. Doves have extended their palette, and are a little bit humbled by the thing they've managed to pull out of themselves.

Taking to the stage on the second night of a three-date mini-tour before Some Cities' February release, they plunge straight into "Snowdon", a great new track, whose chorus - "Why should we care?" - breathtakingly puts paid to the slighty parsimonious accusations of defeatism and platitude that have hovered over the band's first two albums, Lost Souls (2000) and The Last Broadcast (2002). It's a joyous song of equilibrium and escape, that has the hairs on the back of your neck start pointing skyward like little photoreceptors: self-assured without being bombastic, and emotionally engaging without any of Embrace's bogus demagoguery.

In a time where anthemic rock has become sullied by cliché, where the sentiments are so trite your flesh virtually stings from all the old chestnuts that have been hurled, it's a pleasure to see a band who can engage the emotions without being particularly arcane lyrically. And it's not just the music. Bathed in green and magenta lights, a rapt audience is fed crisply rendered images of soaring skyscrapers and solar systems, perfectly complementing a sound that operates like a spatial vortex: transporting, absorbing, satisfying.

The shimmering "Words", sung by guitarist Jez Williams, and the alternately thundering and fragile "New York" sail by like sheets of ice in the tide, and then it's straight into the new single, "Black and White Town" (out on 7 February), which capers along to Andy Williams's skipping Northern Soul drumbeat. His Stakhanovite approach to his drumkit is typical of the band's industrious, egalitarian ethos, where indie self-effacement becomes a virtue and the music is allowed to speak for itself - a Spiritualised for the people.

Crowd-pleasers such as "The Cedar Room", "Satellites", "Caught by the River" and "Pounding" are interspersed with some majestic new material. The ballad "Ambition" - which was recorded in a Benedictine monastery for the new album - and the introspective "I Almost Forget Myself" allow the band to indulge their Pink Floyd aspirations and acquaint the audience with new, less immediately gratifying tracks. They even get away with playing a B-side ("Darker"), and are self-assured enough to encore with the moodily instrumental "Fire Suite".

The setlist is a masterclass in negotiating the "give-'em-what-they-want" download ethos where the audience is used to being able to shuffle around what they're listening to, like a deck of cards. So, no aces on demand here: no "Space Face", in particular, the band's immensely popular usual closer. But such is the band's intuitive understanding of how to work a crowd - like a Hacienda DJ of yore - that with a simple, big-hearted "Merry Christmas", the band depart with the perfect parting gift: the aptly festive "There Goes the Fear", with its Rio Carnival drums and twinkling, music-box guitars.

Serious without being earnest, tireless without being remotely tiresome, brawny yet intelligent, Doves deserve entry into rock's premier league because they give great gig. If Some Cities can give Chris Martin a run for his money, it'll be a Happy New Year for stadium rock indeed.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Arts and Entertainment
John Kearns winner of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award with last years winners: Bridget Christie and Frank Skinner
comedyJohn Kearns becomes the first Free Fringe act to win the top prize
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Sue Vice
booksAcademic says we should not disregard books because they unexpectedly change genre
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Muscato performs as Michael Crawford in Stars in Their Eyes

TV
Arts and Entertainment
‘Game of Thrones’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus brought her Bangerz tour to London's O2 Arena last night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
film
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis