Doves @ The Warehouse Project
Phil Brady on what could be their last gig
Packed like intestines into the arched innards beneath Manchester Piccadilly railway station - a skeletal, red-bricked structure,
masquerading as the city's finest venue by night, then transforming itself back to a car park for our nations commuters
by Monday morning – the crowd’s aspirations run high in the knowledge that tonight could bare witness to the final
broadcast of Doves.
As the brilliant Sunderland based Field Music warm up the Warehouse Project audience with their tight, complex and broken rhythms, progressive melodies and simple pop vocal lines, brothers David and Peter Brewis enjoy the reaction from this vibrant hoard who are more than impressed with the fine musicianship hailing from the main stage. The sound flowing through the field of faces, eclectic and electric, weaves it's way through every section of the open plan venue, which is separated into rooms by veils of dark material, each division themed with visual projections and 3D screens.
With a well stocked bar in every room, the atmosphere throughout is radiant and people are courteous. There is something about Mancs that sets them apart from everyone else. Maybe it's the friendliness on their warm faces; maybe it's their outgoing personalities or down to earth attitudes, parched with dry wit and an insatiable taste for a party. Whatever it is, with an encouraging welcome, rubbing shoulders with this crowd creates no friction and static in the air sparks a flame of embrace as Steve Mason of Beta Band takes to the stage.
Settling in with songs from his recent album, ‘Boys Outside’, Steve makes himself at home on The Warehouse Project's stage as more people spill in from the side bars and the main arena starts to fill to the brim. If you haven't already taken a vantage point in the crowd by now, it will be a hard push later to get anywhere near the middle, let alone the front, for a decent view of the main attraction. Being one of the very few WHP gigs not to fully sell out of tickets, the place is now hammered to the point of discomfort, relieved only at the bar, in the DJ room where Bez from Happy Mondays dances, as he does, behind sets from Will Tramp and Now Wave DJs or on the very outskirts of the crowd.
It's 1am and Doves arrive on a stage adorned by the most fantastic visuals on multiple screens behind them. Jez and Andy on guitar and drums send sounds echoing around the building and up into the station above as Jimi's basslines thunder across the adjacent cobbled roads and back again drenching this loving thrall with his vocal melodies as they break out ‘Cedar Room’, the crowd sing every word. Continuing with ‘There Goes The Fear’ and most of the songs from last years release ‘Kingdom Of Rust’ and this year’s compilation ‘The Places Between’. Jez acknowledges the people stood under the arches who can’t quite see the band in full are getting a “rough deal” and plays for them as Jimi says, “stage invasion later? I am cordially inviting you.” Much to the dismay of the guitarist and the stage manager. Jimi later hands his bass to the crowd who fight for it only for it to be taken back by the security at the front. Alas no stage invasion. Doves complete their set and their career as a band with Sub Sub's ‘Space Face’ as the immortal words from A Space Odyssey resonate around arches above, “my god, it's all full of stars.”
We will be back at The Warehouse Project 2010 this Saturday for a DJ set from Chase and Status on a line up with live performances from Grandmaster Flash, Scratch Perverts, Stanton Warriors and Beardyman.