Gomez Acoustic Trio Saturday January 20, 2007 WYEP Studios Pittsburgh, PA

See The World/Girlshapedlovedrug/Hamoa Beach/How We Operate

The boys from Gomez were scheduled to perform this gig last year. The World Cafe in Philly was more important I suppose and they cancelled the session. Surprisingly, the station e-mailed me and asked if I was interested in being in the audience for a make-up gig. Fuck yeah! They were in town supporting O.A.R. and stumbled into the station a little world weary. They played a short set and interview to a SRO appreciative crowd. Ian didn't look so good. He whispered to Ben before they started that he might pass out. Regardless, they sounded good. The only letdowns were the dark lighting, the lack of old tunes, and the brevity of the set. They were funny and really nice after the set. Cool guys!

Here's some pics courtesy WYEP:

Either my camera REALLY sucks ass, or they turned the lights way down low after they warmed up and let us in.

Gomez Trio autographed Live At The Hotel Cafe EP cover

Gomez Trio autographed flyer

I clipped this summary of the day from the Gomez message board:

I got to see Ben, Tom & Ian do an acoustic show this afternoon at WYEP (the local public radio station). 4 songs - See the World, Girl Shaped Love Drug, Hamoa Beach & How We Operate. They also chatted a bit between songs, and were generally charming and witty (of course). Ian's inspiration for melodic songwriting - John Cougar. Tom's plan for the future - run for president of the U.S. Oh, and when asked what the rest of the band did while they were off doing radio shows, they made a few jokes about them lounging around eating grapes. And then Tom said that Blackie was doing Ollie's hair. (at least I think that's what he said. I had trouble hearing them sometimes. But I like this story, so I'm sticking with it.) Then he laughed and said that was an image that would stay with him for a while.

Tonight, at the AJ Palumbo center, the doors were supposed to open at 6:30. They didn't. They opened much later. So we all got to stand outside in 17 degree weather and get frostbite first. Woo! The line turned ugly. People at the end of the line started another line up front. People who were already at the front shoved back. I lost all feeling in my feet and feared being smooshed to death before making it to the show. All the lines bottle necked into 3 metal detectors. People shoved some more. I barely made it in before Gomez started at 7:30 (which made me glad that I'd followed all the people who cut to the front of the line.)

Set list (as best I can remember)

Shot Shot
See the World
Hamoa Beach
Girl Shaped Love Drug
How we operate

Gomez was great. The crowd not so much. They annoyed me. So much that I decided not to stay for OAR. I kinda wanted to see them. But if I had stayed I might have ended up killing one of the kids talking loudly next to me. So it was for the best.

I'm looking forward to the shows in March. Nice long set lists. And better crowds.


Gomez Sunday June 25, 2006 Mr. Small's Funhouse Millvale, PA

w/ Slow Runner

Gomez autographed ticket stub from the infamous "sweat box" show of last year

Bring It On/Shot Shot/All Too Much/Love Is Better Than A Warm Trombone/See The World/Nothing Is Wrong/Ping One Down/Notice/Blue Moon Rising/How We Operate/Ruff Stuff/Hamoa Beach/Girlshapedlovedrug/Free To Run/Fill My Cup/Devil Will Ride

Encore: Chasing Ghosts With Alcohol/Make No Sound/Whippin' Piccadilly

This was a fantastic show. My boy Mike scored free tickets through Mr. Small's and if it weren't for that I don't know if I would have made it. This was my fourth show in three days and my tenth in June alone...I was burnt. Everyone and their mother was at the Black Crowes/Robert Randolph/Drive By Truckers show tonight and I am glad I went to Gomez instead (reports of a stoned Chris Robinson, an uninspired Patterson Hood, and a $40 ticket price reaffirmed my choice).

Opener's Slow Runner were average. I was thinking of Toad The Wet Sprocket the whole time they were on. They had a few catchy numbers but that's about it.

Gomez put on a great show as usual. The place wasn't packed as previous shows, which is such a bonus at Mr. Small's. The new material, which I wasn't familiar at all, was pretty good live.

After the show, one of the roadies takes back some of my shit to be signed. He returns saying he couldn't find Olly, "Sorry, mate." Screw it. I go outside back around the building and Ben is chillin' in the courtyard. I ask him if it's all right if I come down and show him something. He said sure as long as it's not a gun! I try to give him the drawing I made for the prints (which turned out quite nice if I say so myself). He doesn't accept it and signs it. He gets the other guys to autograph it (including Olly) and invites me in to where the boys are chillin'. I never realized the energy they use in performing as they all look spent. I felt bad barging in on them once I was there and they couldn't have been more cordial. Instead of asking for photos I left them with their beers and South Park and called it a night.

Gomez autographed How We Operate CD cover

Gomez autographed flyer


Gomez autographed print


Gomez Friday October 22, 2004 Mr. Small's Funhouse Millvale, PA

w/Augie March

Ian, Ben and Tom autographed ticket stub

Nothing Is Wrong/Hangover/Catch Me Up/Love Is Better Than A Warm Trombone/Shot Shot/California/These 3 Sins/Sound Of Sounds/Free To Run/Ping One Down/Here Comes The Breeze/In Our Gun/Blue Moon Rising/78 Stone Wobble/Silence/Get Myself Arrested

Encore: We Don't Know Where We're Going/Make No Sound/Whippin' Piccadilly

A kick-ass rock and roll show from this U.K. band. This band is just as great live as on record. Mr. Smalls doesn't have their liquor license yet so they were giving away beer, as long as you bought a $5 cup. We spent the entire night getting a beer then immediately getting in the line for another. I stoked out the tourbus behind the place before the show and approached bassist Paul "Blackie" Blackburn to take my shit to the rest of the band to be signed. Super nice and gracious dude. Later a crew member taking down the stage took my shirt back to be signed. Sa-Weet!

Gomez autographed Split The Difference CD cover

Gomez autographed Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline CD cover

The sound guy refused to give up his setlist so he let me snap a picture of it.

Fuck it, my boy Mike Z. snagged one from the stage. The competition was fierce around that stage, he felt like a desperate broad trying to catch the bridal bouquet.

Preview article from The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette Friday October 22, 2004

Music Preview: Gomez doesn't sound like the typical Brit-pop band

Friday, October 22, 2004
By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Anyone familiar with the contemporary pop scene knows there are more American bands trying to sound like Radiohead than there are British bands willing to be confused with, say, Widespread Panic.

That brings us to Gomez, that rare Brit-pop group that wouldn't get the bum's rush at a jam-band festival.

And yet, the British quintet would have been equally at home at the edgier Lollapalooza, where it would have played had the festival not bottomed out this summer.

Gomez has been cruising the States this year anyway with Split the Difference, a fourth proper studio record that finds the band once again blending blues-rock, jaunty pop, psychedelia and electronics in a way that people find hard to classify.

That unique formula goes back to 1998 when Gomez produced Bring It On in a Merseyside garage having never played a live gig. It won the prestigious Mercury Prize in England over the likes of the Verve, Pulp and Massive Attack.

Gomez carried that honor and burden through Liquid Skin (1999) and In Our Gun (2002), records that were variously praised and panned for their increased use of studio enhancement.

Split the Difference has been hailed for capturing the band once again in a more straight-forward rock 'n' roll context.

"I think the main reason that it came out like that," says bassist Paul Blackburn, "was that we just came off touring, playing together live and really enjoying it. I guess why it's more stripped down is that we were getting live takes down in the studio. It has a bit more rock 'n' roll feel to it and a little bit more live feel to it. There are little bits of electronics to it, but less than the previous albums."

It's not hard to hear a few different bands at work on a Gomez record. There are the bluesier songs delivered in the gravelly vocals of Ben Ollewell, who occasionally sounds like Eddie Vedder, and the bouncier Beatlesque ones of Tom Gray. Beyond that, Gomez can be as heavy as Pearl Jam and Nirvana, as arty as Radiohead, as power-pop as Weezer and as folksy (almost) as The Dead.

"We just like mix up all different styles, different types of music that we like," Blackburn says, "and I think there are a number of bands doing that. So, maybe we need to decide on a new category [to describe it]."

While Split the Difference has some great potential singles, notably the punchy pop song 'Silence' and ballad 'Sweet Virginia', Gomez has yet to break one in the States. That's one reason the band doesn't seem to mind being embraced by the jam scene.

"We definitely get that over here," Blackburn says, "which is a good thing because we get the crowds of people who are into that. We don't really consider it a jam band ourselves, because the songs are a bit short. The jam bands tend to have 10-minute jams going on, and I think we're quite a bit more structured. I guess because there are six of us on stage and a lot going on during the songs, that is part of the reason we fit into that."

As for the reception now in England, he says, "It is kind of fickle, really. If you're the new thing, there's a lot of interest about you. And unless you become like mega-huge within the first couple records, then the interest tends to wane a bit."

He points to Radiohead and Coldplay as bands that have crossed that threshold. It would be unwise to count Gomez out in the future.



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