THE DOVES with the STROKES at the Opera House, March 1. Tickets: $12.50. Attendance: 600. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
the doves treated opening band the Strokes with uncommon courtesy Thursday, giving them the full sound system and shout-outs in their own set. In return, the New Yorkers did everything possible to blow the Manchester headliners off the Opera House stage.
With front man Julian Casablancas doing his best disaffected Lou Reed moan and his band bashing away with true Velvets abandon, the much-hyped quintet came off like a less tragic version of Montreal's Dears.
There was plenty of posing -- no surprise, really, considering that Casablancas's father is the head of the Elite Modeling Agency -- yet for all their New York attitude and affected scruffiness, the Strokes were actually a remarkably tight little pop band.
Their soaring tunes were closer to the airtight pop of Guided by Voices than Television. Watching them, you just wish Casablancas would drop the shtick a bit and unleash the crooner within. Expect big things.
With the gauntlet down, the pressure was on the Doves to live up to their own hype. Their first response was a surreal, Dr. Dre-style opening video starring a man in a bear suit and the Grim Reaper. The follow-up was a massive wall of sound.
The Doves were immensely loud and full, with a keyboard beefing things up and a DAT filling in when necessary. For all their talk of returning to beats, the quartet were also heavier than their moody Lost Souls debut would lead you to believe.
With Jez Williams stomping two-footed on his rack of pedals and drummer Andy Williams thrashing away on his kit, Catch The Sun was even more like Isn't Anything-era My Bloody Valentine than on record, while the sublime The Man Who Told Everything and The Cedar Room became swaggering anthems.
The only misstep occurred when they did bring in the beats for a bit of double-time drum 'n' bass that went nowhere. Stick with the songs, lads.