Delamere Forest Fan Review

We have another excellent review of the Delamere Forest show. This one was submitted to us by Si. He was checking us out whilst on the train back to Manchester. Got to love modern technology.

Delamere Forest 13 June 2009

How many bands can close a gig with a cover of a song that they made famous themselves when they were a different group? Such is the enigmatic attraction of Doves. A band who’s recent Kindgom of Rust album has finally got them the critical acclaim that many have known they deserved for a long time. Set alongside the recent belated recognition for Elbow by the music industry and general public alike, it feels like the Manchester music scene is once again the centre of the world.

What better place to celebrate this musical epiphany than a gig in a forest in their home county of Cheshire. On a perfect summer evening which brought not clear blue skies, but just enough clouds to create the perfect sunset to form a backdrop to one of the gigs of the decade.

Delphic put in a solid performance, but despite their best efforts still looked dwarfed by the setting. Their studied mix of electronica and indie guitar set the right tone though, and provided ample entertainment as the waiting gathering tucked into picnics, enjoyed copious quantities of alcohol and chatted amongst themselves, pausing only to comment how the nice man from the Forestry Commission really should have been told that it’s just Doves and no definite article is required, but no harm done.

The gentle opening waft of Jetstream brings recognition and approval from the audience. This is a crowd that range from the under 5’s (free –thanks Forestry Commission, darn fine idea!) to the majority of 30 and 40 somethings, and whilst many are clearly long time fans, they love and respect the brilliance of the new and the old. After all, isn’t reinvention, rebirth and recreation the history of Doves?

Slipping back a few years for Snowden and then returning to the now with the superb new local favourite Winter Hill, Doves demonstrated with some style that they can keep the classics in reserve, and the crowd would be equally happy if they only played new tracks. Rise is followed by Pounding and with the light fading, the crowd are well and truly ready to let it all out. Almost Forgot Myself brings a touch of pop before the reset button is hit by the lyrical opening of 10:03 which builds towards it’s climax as the darkness falls and the crowd is readied for the anthemic Words. More perfect English summer brilliance of sweeping highs and lows courtesy of The Greatest Denier gives way to the country overtones and telstar chords of Kingdom Of Rust.

My son nervously checks my watch. Worried that they won’t have much longer on stage. He just wants more and more. This is his first ever proper concert and he is loving it. Dancing to every track, throwing shapes in the liberated way that only a 8 year old can. Black and White town puts everyone back in the singalong mood before we are dragged into the maelstrom by the riptide that is The Outsiders.

Caught By The River tops up the summer mood but no-one believed that they would close a show this special with it. A few years ago, maybe, but not now. Returning to the stage with The Cedar Room, the fans knew that they would get all that they wanted tonight. Keyboard, guitar, drums and voice, simple progression, perfectly delivered. Last Broadcast brings a lilting comedown before There Goes The Fear reminds us that we had been waiting for that night, but somehow we’d forgotten about it, everything else had been so great, we wouldn’t have noticed it was missing.

Some of the crowd start to leave. After all, it makes sense, they closed on one of their best known songs, a real sing along and of course it has the cowbells at the end. But the faithful remain, baying for more. The amps are still live and we are treated to a second encore. As the premature ejectors turn and face the stage, there are a few puzzled glances as it dawns on us that we are about to be treated to Space face, live. For those of us that came to God’s own City of Manchester because of the music and the attitude of the early 90’s, it was a belting, aching reminder of how long we had held the music of Doves close to our hearts. 18 years since their first single they came home tonight and showed that they have come of age and can at last be recognised for the genius that is Doves.

Summer people indeed, summer people.

Thanks Si! That’s great that your son saw doves for his first concert. What a way to start!

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