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EL REY CROWD ENJOYS THE SONGS OF DOVES.

Byline: Jesse Hiestand Staff Writer

Once again, Doves signal a break in the storm.

Not of a biblical flood, though. But the folk rock band's show at the El Rey Theater on Tuesday was further proof that the reign of teen pop and aggro-metal may be receding somewhat in America.

On its first stateside tour, the band from Manchester, England, managed to pack more than 700 fans into a sold-out show with a blend of retro rock hooks, melancholy and psychedelic flourishes.

Like their compatriots Coldplay and Badly Drawn Boy, Doves are embraced in their home country, where songcraft is almost a national obsession.

These bands are rarely heard on the Los Angeles radio dial anywhere left of KCRW-FM (89.9), which has championed this new wave of artists and sponsored Tuesday's show.

Unlike the young lads in Coldplay, Doves are somewhat grizzled, owing to already being veterans of Manchester's fabled acid-house scene a decade ago as the act Sub Sub.

Leader Jimi Goodwin traded dance music for an acoustic guitar and lyrics of longing and hope. He was backed by twins Andy and Jez Williams on drums and guitar, respectively. The three official members were joined by keyboardist Martin Rebelski, who used samplers to fill in the sonic palette.

A minor mystery was who was playing bass. Goodwin did half the time, but the low notes continued unabated when he switched to guitar, indicating that Rebelski was playing bass from the keyboard or using a backing track.

Opening the show with a five-minute grainy film of the band in a highway encounter with freakish creatures was almost a misstep, prompting one fan to quip, ``Is this art?''

But Doves quickly recaptured the crowd's attention with the lilting instrumental ``Firesuite,'' the first cut off their debut album ``Lost Souls.''

That built to ``Sea Song'' and the climactic anthem ``Catch the Sun,'' where Jez Williams' effects-drenched guitar was sweetened further by his backing vocals.

More taxing numbers like ``Lost Souls'' exposed a vulnerability of bands that sink or swim on the strength of their songs.

But it was a generally strong showing by Doves, especially since Goodwin told the audience early on that he was high enough to touch the sun he often sings about. He also sarcastically wondered if there were any ``stars'' in the audience, given he was in Hollywood.

Encore ``Here It Comes'' (the sun, naturally) found the drummer on vocals and Goodwin giving a good effort on drums. They closed with one of their old Sub Sub songs, a dance-infected groove that proved to be one of the more catchy songs of the night.

Opening band the Strokes, tipped in the British press to be part of an even newer, younger wave of hopefuls, cranked out a set of mod songs that prove you don't need much more than three minutes to hammer home a tune and some brash lyrics.
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Title Annotation:Review; L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 8, 2001
Words:483
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