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No new album, so what? Gomez tours on

Paradise, Boston, Jan. 19, 2004

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - One of England's finest musical exports, Gomez, is apparently not about to do the music business thing the typical way. The usual way is to release an album, tour heavily behind and hopefully have a song or two that gets a good amount of radio play to help with both sales and the ability to tour.

But after not having released an album in a few years and none slated until spring (a single is due out in March), Gomez crossed the pond to reconnect with their stateside fans. And the opening date of their short, 18-date U.S. tour before a sold-out, very enthusiastic crowd, left little doubt as to the decision made by Gomez was a smart one.

Gomez (the name comes from a sign pointing the way to a concert for their friend Gomez, and the name stuck) played songs from their three releases plus several new songs from as yet untitled release (they jokingly asked the audience for CD titles at one point), and just about everything came up a winner.

The beauty of the band is that they create a steadily building sense of musical power within each song. The music is on the loud side, but has a lot of drive and energy behind it to make it all work. While on their albums, the songs are long, during their 90-minute set including encore, the music didn't drone on. In fact, several of the songs were kept on a tight leash.

While the front men would presumably receive the credit, drummer Olly Peacock is a powerhouse on the skins, setting the beat throughout to propel the music along.

As for the front men, the best vocalist of the three is Ben Ottewell, who sings in a bit of a bluesy, full bodied voice with a lot of emotion. More from him would have been welcome.

The funniest by far is keyboardist and lead singer Tom Gray. Just about everything that he said was funny, adding a lightness to the evening that with some other personality could have made it all a tad too Serious and Important. <1>Gomez doesn't necessarily play radio friendly, ear candy music from the beginning "Get Miles" to the regular set closer "Revolutionary Kind" to the night's closer "Whippin' Picadilly." In fact, that was hardly ever the case (well the new single, "Catch Me Up," does have a pop sound), but there's nothing wrong with meaty music with both power and grace.

Chicago's Rachael Yamagata opened with a strong 50-minute set filled with fine songs usually about messed up relationships. Yamagata, who released an EP last fall and a full length due in April, tends to sing ethereal, moody songs with a lot of sincerity. She also got soulful and bit funky on occasion, making for a nice mix.

Yamagata, who played keyboards, could present a stronger stage package - she doesn't have a whole lot to say and acknowledged having no jokes - but hopefully that will develop over time especially since she already possesses the musical goods.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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