Gomez - The Ritz - 13.6.06
To look at them Gomez have the sort of personality deficit disorder that make the Longcut look like hyperactive red coats high on Sunny D but as soon as the swallowing razor blades vocals of Ian Ball kick in a meandering blues track is lifted into something that's soaked in Muddy Waters.
10 years since these unlikely chancers came from a northern town, in Gomez's case Southport instead of Sheffield, almost straight from lectures to winning the Mercury Music Prize. Their career has been a mixture of highs and lows creatively while commercially its been one of diminishing returns. Still that fact they can sell out tours and shows such as this when they're too rootsy for middle england, not trendy enough for the yout and have been doing as they please for their entire career shows you dont always have to conventional to have a long career in music.
While the UK is dancing to a different beat with the Monkeys, Kooks and Razorlight leading the pack, Gomez have been one of the few bands to break through on the college scene in the states where bands such as Field Music are finding welcome arms while the British public have by and large ignored them.
Last time Designer Magazine saw them was at The Manchester Apollo when they were going through the real heart of their techno blues period which had as much in common with Alabama 3 as it did their real roots and influences and to a certain extent that now missing element does leave a large gaping hole in the set with everyone but the hardened fans taking note of every song. While many have seen them taking the route of getting an outside producer in to hone their sound down to tangible songs rather than extended jams it was these jams and experimental moments that made the live shows such a revelation - now we have song after song that meander to the point Designer Magazine can't actually remember any of their names. Only "Shot Shot", "Free To Run" and "Make No Sound" stand out from a 20 song set.
Ending on "Whipping Piccaddilly", a song about going to see Beck in manchester and getting the train home, they end on a high but next time we'll consider whether it really is worth seeing them again. Its better to fade away than try and fit in line with the conventional and for many maybe they feel that's what Gomez should have done if they weren't prepared to carry on experimenting with their sound
Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Shirlaine Forrest www.shirlainephotos.co.uk
Click here to leave your Gomez comments on the Message Board
(NB: The message board opens in a new window so please disable your pop-up blocker to view)