IF EVER there was a band for our times of economic recession and pandemic flu fears, it is surely Doves.

And 2009 is already being tipped as THE year the miserable and majestic trio from Manchester finally turns critical acclaim into mainstream success.

Rave reviews for their new album Kingdom of Rust saw it shoot to Number 2 on the charts last month and their return to Southampton Guildhall after years in the wilderness was highly anticipated.

Which is why it was so surprising that the gig proved to be slightly disappointing.

Sure it was packed with hits from their vast back catalogue, which now stretches back the best part of a decade, but the crowd - and band – never seemed to take full flight, so to speak.

Most surprising was the muted response to their new single, despite heavy rotation on Radio 1 and the simple fact it is a killer song.

While a mature-aged audience can’t be expected to jump up and down in a mosh pit for 90 minutes, a clap in the air sing-along wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Playing on a Monday night, let alone a Bank Holiday Monday night, is never an easy gig, but the Mancunian trio offered little banter to get Guildhall going - apart from a “Good evening Southampton…”

and laughing at the fact we all had work the next day.

There is no doubt that old Doves tunes Black & White Town and the closing There Goes The Fear are modern day British classics, but it remains to be seen whether they can “do an Elbow” and finally become one of the country’s favourite bands.