Saturday 16 December 2017

Review Rock: Jimi Goodwin plays Whelans in Dublin

Jimi Goodwin
Jimi Goodwin
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

You don't get to see too many singing bass players in rock 'n' roll. The original of the species is Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott. In more recent times, a Mancunian named Jimi Goodwin has steered his three-piece band Doves to two number one albums and Mercury Music Prize nominations.

Since 2010, Doves have been on an indefinite hiatus. Meanwhile, Goodwin is busying himself with a debut solo album entitled Odludek, which is not something plucked from Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, but the Polish phrase for "loner" or "pilgrim".

Contrary to expectations, Goodwin hasn't pursued down the solo acoustic avenue. His new band sound as muscular as Doves on the opening numbers 'Terracotta Warrior' and 'Didsbury Girl'.

Recent single 'Oh! Whiskey' is an early highlight with harmonies drenched in harmonica and booze-soaked reflections. It specifically addresses Goodwin's struggle to adjust from the abnormal amount of drinking he'd do on tour to the relative sobriety of day-to-day life.

Coincidentally, a song entitled 'Panic Tree' is a touching ode to father-son relationships and his late father, which he co-wrote with friend Guy Garvey from Elbow.

Both singers share styles and very obvious similarities. They are both very funny and sensitive as songwriters and individuals. While being very northern English, they aren't remotely laddish or boorish. Think more along the lines of Richard Hawley rather than Liam Gallagher.

A few Doves songs are chipped in for good measure, but not any of the anthemic hits. Fan favourites 'Snowden', 'Lost Souls', 'The Sulphur Man' and 'The Last Broadcast' all elicit a bit of a sing-song rather than raised fists in the air.

If Goodwin was playing a bigger venue, this might be a slightly risky strategy, but it suits the more intimate setting perfectly. Goodwin is so charming and affable he'd probably get away with singing the phonebook.

Rather than trade exclusively on past glories, Goodwin reveals that he still has lots to say in his post-Doves career. There is a curious bond evident between performer and audience, which, despite every performer's best efforts, you really don't get to witness very often.

After a few weeks playing UK arenas as a support band to Guy Garvey's Elbow, Goodwin is visibly delighted to be cranking it up in a bar where he can see the whites of people's eyes and engage in some one-to-one banter.

A Jimi Goodwin gig is like receiving a welcome bear hug from a kindly stranger who you'd actually want to be your friend.

Irish Independent

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