JIMI GOODWIN, Islington Assembly Hall – Evening Standard, 19 May 2014

It’s hard to move on from a great band. Look at Liam Gallagher, forced to backtrack and play Oasis songs because nobody thinks Beady Eye are better. This Jimi Goodwin solo concert, taking place four years after his trio Doves were last seen together, was weighed down by an obvious hunger from attendees to hear more of his past work.

They may not have reached the  arenas like Oasis or The Stone Roses, but Doves were another vital northern band, making uplifting songs tempered with Mancunian grey.The three Doves tracks he conceded to play were not the obvious singles. Even so, it was the winning notes of his old group’s Last Broadcast that earned the night’s biggest singalong, with the crowd carrying on well after the quartet had finished.

In a room lit by a spinning mirrorball, Goodwin had a twinkle in his eye, too. He gabbled and joked between songs, and delighted in confounding those who might have been expecting an evening comprised entirely of heartbroken everyman anthems in the vein of his mates Elbow. The electric blast of Terracotta Warrior was the first surprise, while Man v Dingo’s unhinged horns and lurching guitar were perhaps more entertaining for their creator than everyone else.

Live Like a River’s dancey synth stabs didn’t quite fit with his careworn voice. Nevertheless, he played it twice. Oh! Whiskey received a more welcome second airing in the encore, a warmhearted strum and a lovely tune.

Goodwin has hinted that he felt stuck in a rut with Doves, although they are officially on hiatus, not defunct. Now he’s reaching out in multiple new directions, not all of them successful. If the solo career doesn’t take off, he still has an audience for a fine back catalogue.