Thursday, 26 April 2018

Gomez 20 Years of ‘Bring it On’ Celebration Tour, Rock City, Nottingham – support by John Smith – 25th April, 2018

Still Standing

This won’t take long in conveying the great joy and buzz of seeing this gig, first and foremost going with one of my daughters who reminded me that apart from our father/daughter link and broad share of musical likes, we had each independently bought Gomez’s debut album Bring It On back in 1998 and liked – loads. I recall liking most the bluesy/funk material, especially the throaty vocal of Ben Ottewell; she clearly loving it all as was proved last night with her singing along knowingly to every blistering track played at the wonderful Rock City venue in Nottingham.

The second and surprise treat was the support act. Not knowing who it was going to be, with the first slap and pluck on his acoustic guitar I turned and said keenly to my daughter – in the self-congratulatory reverie of personal apocalypse [I do tend to forget much as I get older] – that’s John Smith! The significance of this is we had seen him together in 2007 at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, supporting John Martyn, perhaps our closest musical share and great love. I have since reviewed Smith’s album Great Lakes here. His set was excellent: great guitar playing – and he had a superb slide guitar cameo with Gomez during their act – and his husky vocal soaring with warmth. 

Gomez opened their set with the first track Get Miles off that Mercury Music Prize winning debut album, and the evening was set with a stonking two decades’ turn-back to excellence. Everything that followed was superb, but again for me I enjoyed most the heavier material, often so funky in its grooves, and Ottewell especially on both vocal and feedbacked heavy guitar work. The band was remarkably tight and their individual singing as well as harmonising was perfection. And then there was the scorch of Rie’s Wagon, all sass and funk and beauty too. A stunning set that had a packed crowd in their own living reverie, this too joyous to watch as they danced and sang along throughout a memorable evening's performance. Highly recommended if you get a chance to see on the continuing tour.

I’d forgotten how young these guys were in 1998. They are yet young men and if I can still rock it for the second 20 year celebration, I’ll be there. But I will have that chair…

Far Out

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