It took Doves four years to get back to Philadelphia and into the Trocadero last night; the reason partially being that Kingdom of Rust took four years to make. Setting the stage in what was once mainly a movie theater, the lights dropped, and imagery of airplanes taking off projected onto the stage-wide backdrop. Shadows of three men walked through the visage, and one behind the keyboards in the back. The looping keys that intro "Jetsream," were tension enough to know that the soundtrack for getting out of this satellite town, the contemporary age of British rock, quiet tragedy, the battling human spirit and whatever life means to you, was about to leave the ground.
Doves were using reverb to no end (and no, I will not describe their music by using the word "soundscape.") They were threading delicate harmony with echo to encompass all the more, especially in songs like "The Greatest Denier," and the gorgeous "Last Broadcast." They had no problems creating walls of sound in "The Outsiders." With the layers provided by their sidekick keyboard player, Doves were at their best in their most sweeping ballads. Songs like "Snowden," were crowd owners that reached full apex in its flair for the dramatic and predictable but still awe-inducing high notes.
Oddly enough, most of their upbeat rockers, aside from "Black and White Town," never really reached any point of combustion. This may have been a problem to do with improper sound leveling, but "Pounding," didn't emphasize much change in drum dynamics. "The Outsiders," almost completely hid the bassline in the first verse that takes as much of the lead melody as the guitar. This song sounded superb on their performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, so one has to wonder what went wrong if it sounded good on a cheap tinny TV. In this respect, their studio production wins outright.
To make up for these blips that, for the most part, didn't seem to be judgment errors on the side of the musicians, Doves outperformed any notion of high expectation on almost every other song. They played 17 songs, and I would say that 10 of them could have been the high points of the show. However, the most soul-melting, I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-myself-I'm-so-full-of-emotion moment came within the span of three songs, played in sequence.