PREVIEW: Gomez: Best enjoyed live

by Nick Black

It’s not necessarily easy for me to discuss Gomez. My relationship to the band is like an unrequited love—or perhaps a love lost would be a more apt comparison. You see, I loved Gomez. You could say they were my first musical love, the first band I really fell in love with. Sure, I’ve always loved the Stones—they will always be my ultimate—but the Stones were like that older woman crush that you had on your second grade teacher, or one of your friends mum’s. Gomez was like my first girl crush when you were old enough to want to talk to girls, hold their hand, and maybe, just maybe, get a peck on the cheek. But then Gomez cheated on me; they went mainstream and lost all that had made me fall in love with them.

Yet, as with an ex lover, you can never quite forget them, no matter what kind of idiot they may be dating now. And so I have followed Gomez, despite my disappointment, and have seen them every time they have come to Vancouver to play live (four times now, I think). Though I may not like their newer stuff, the live show they put on is still second to none. The guys have been together long enough that they seem to communicate with each other through their instruments and nothing else, a slight change in lead guitar work will send the band, as one, into a whole different direction. Their 2005 release Out West (recorded live at the Filmore in San Francisco) is a perfect example of the outstanding live show they put on. Everything from the crowd interaction, right down to set list, is perfect. Not to mention their choice of covers: “Black Eyed Dog” by the underappreciated Nick Drake, and “Goin’ Out West” by the similarly underappreciated king of modern music, Tom Waits.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that although their last few albums have left much to be desired (which is a huge understatement), their live show will nail you to the wall. And, if you go to Virgin fest this weekend, the only bands that may be on a similar level will be the Roots and potentially the newly formed Spinarette. There is a reason Gomez takes the place of my first musical love, and seeing them live says it all.

Gomez is part of the Virgin Fest line-up on July 26 at Deer Lake Park.

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