The most American-sounding of any Brit band, Gomez has that rare blend of songcraft, jam-band elasticity and an experimental hankering that pays off with a sound that’s grounded and otherworldly. Six years ago, Gomez was a band du jour with a Mercury Prize under their belt; for the last year, the band members have been road warriors, honing a powerful live vibe as label support for their efforts dwindled until they were dropped.
Led by three wildly different vocalists, Gomez works a host of textures with aplomb, playing campfire songs one moment, throbbing tribal music the next and then exploding with a melange of Brit pop and reggae bass lines. Monday’s set was devoid of their experiments with dub reggae as the band stuck to their more rough and tumble rock work.
Ben Ottewell’s raspy baritone continues to be one of the most distinctive voices in rock, and when it’s blended with Tom Gray’s honeyed tenor, the result is a vocal magic that few jam bands can approach. Night was highlighted by a brilliant version of “Get Myself Arrested” and the psychedelic swirl of “Blue Moon Rising.” Evening’s lone cover, Tom Waits’ “Goin’ out West,” was given a hard-rock sheen that concealed the tune’s grit.
A packed house capable of singing along with nearly every tune demonstrates the solid grip Gomez has on their faithful. As with so many bands that tread alternative music waters, the mystery is how to get that base to multiply.