Live at The Refectory on Sunday, 24th November 2002
The Delgados are not a band I know much about before this gig. All I have heard has been positive though.
The Refectory venue is nicely filled out, people milling around from the bar and getting a good position early on down the front.
Producing delicate yet noisy, fractured tunes over which graceful harmonies collide The Delgados sometimes seem a like a nicer version of Mogwai. It's a melting pot of styles and influences that creates the sum of their parts and the crowd seem to take kindly to the band, but hey, they've got a girl in the band and there's a lot of guys here tonight, so maybe I've judged it wrong.
There's a tense feeling mixed with a relaxed and laid back approach that gives the band their emotion and edge. Alas I miss most song titles but maybe next time I'll know them in advance, being inclined, as I am to further investigate after tonight's introduction.
Bang! "There Goes The Fear".
Right, so you've just opened your gig with possibly your two most recognisable songs, the ones that if you had any sense you'd have saved for your encore. So where do you go from here?
Most bands would be screwed. Doves have had their share of bad luck over the years though and if anything tonight is down to luck then they've earned it. To be honest though tonight is just down to the musical brilliance of four individuals. The gig starts brilliantly and just gets better. A bold move turns out to be a cunning one, the crowd are immediately fired up and ready for more.
After the swirling "Sea Song" a slight technical hitch with Jez Williams' guitar leaves Jimi Goodwin with some time to kill. "A funny thing happened to us on the way here today......in that absolutely nothing happened at all". With no tale to tell we're treated to an impromptu version of "A House", a rare but welcome treat.
Why keyboards man is not classed as an official 'Dove' I'm not sure, but his contribution is huge. His atmospheric variety of sounds gives depth and body to the brooding, gentle songs and really helps to lift songs such as "Rise" to another level. Each songs is a belter, "Catch The Sun, Satellites, The Man Who Told Everything", "N.Y" are all delivered with power and passion before the encore. Speaking of belters, there's one stood next to me by the name of Claire so it's my loss when she leaves early, but hers when she misses a triumphant finale.
The band return to a near frenzied crowd with the instrumental "Firesuite" before Andy Williams gets his turn at the mic for "Here It Comes". The atmosphere is electric, Goodwin spends half the night thanking the crowd and the band are clearly buzzing from the reception they've received which shines through in the performance. These are some of the most emotional and powerful songs a British band has produced for a long while. There are no fillers, they're all pure class, the orchestration of each one is perfect, the delivery impeccable.
The evening closes with a performance of "Space Face", an old track form the band's 'Sub Sub' days. My jaw hits the floor. The crowd are going wild as the drums pound and the housey piano echoes around the hall. Lights are flickering away and this is better than anything you've from most DJ's. You can't help but shake your ass and wave your hands.
This is inspiring stuff from arguably the best band in Britain. Watch out world. Miss the opportunity to see this band live and I guarantee you will regret it sooner or later.