Jimi Goodwin in Whelan’s, Dublin, on May 12th 2014
Bassist and lead singer from indie band Doves, Jimi Goodwin, has taken his first tentative steps as a solo artist with the release of the warmly-received debut album ‘Odulek’. Goodwin’s music, at least on the album, hasn’t changed drastically from the smooth and gentle rolling alternative sound of his Doves days, so the challenge for Jimi here is to prove that he can provide something more than be a cheap rip-off of his better-known band. There might be a tendency to use the Doves songs as a crutch, and certainly the audience won’t mind, but this is about proving his mettle as an independent artist, and showing the audience that he is able to standout as a solo artist.
Terracotta Warrior kicks off tonight’s proceedings, with its dramatic entry chords sounding grand and booming in the confined venue. Goodwin’s voice is fantastic, rich and warm and more than capable of carrying a tune all by itself. Live Like A River introduces itself with an intense electronic riff, before rumbling and aggressive drums drive the song forward with a ferocious liveliness, and the song is an early-set highlight.
Goodwin brings a great vibrancy to his live performance, and this is evident throughout the night. Oh! Whiskey is a slightly folkier sound, with a harmonica and featuring Goodwin on an acoustic guitar. The song is wonderfully arranged, and embodies a great sense of character. At the end of the song, Goodwin is handed a bottle of Bushmills and a note thanking him for ‘twenty years of inspiration.’ Goodwin passes the booze amongst the crowd, and unsurprisingly this contributes to the friendly, intimate atmosphere that is present throughout the show.
There is the odd occasion where it feels like Goodwin is merely reproducing the classic Doves sound of a dreamy, hazy atmosphere (even when not playing Doves songs). The Ghost Of The Empties is a bit, well, empty, and is just a little dull. On the other hand there are times where Goodwin shows a side of his singwriting that never really surfaced from his time in Doves, particularly on Man vs Dingo. Here trumpets make an appearance and the song is a jaunty little number that bursts with energy and vibrancy. The Last Broadcast is one of the few Doves songs to be performed, and is slightly less spacey and feels more stripped down than the album version, without being half-hearted or losing any of its original brilliance. The delicate vocals and sweet guitar melodies combine to make an angelic piece.
Northernden, another Doves tune, is a gorgeously,sweet, melodic song that is full with vocal hooks and softly plucked guitars. For the last song Goodwin confesses that the group have run out of rehearsed songs, but offers to play a song from the main set again. Oh! Whiskey is the winner of this strange poll, and proves to be just as upbeat and relaxing as it was the first time around. Ultimately Goodwin recaptures the elements that made Doves such an entrancing act, while simultaneously expanding and experimenting his sound, creating a new and unique listening experience.
Jimi Goodwin Photo Gallery
Photos : Colm Kelly