Live review

Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone : 7.12.2002

Okay, I'll be upfront here: I was one (of many I might add) who was indifferent to the very existence of Gomez. I always had them pictured as a sub-standard Smashing Pumpkins, generally for students who missed the Pumpkins boat and were desperately in search of something original to hang on to.
    Their new album was forgettable too, another indie shot at the bullseye of nothing. Once listened to, it found a home with the other stuff in my house that I think is average - it lives on top of the fridge. Hold that thought.

Support band Archive are a bit of a turn up for the books. What I initially had pegged as what I would lovingly (and meaningfully) term as a 'student hippy shoe gazing' combo, turned out to be one bitch of a powerful unit. Think Pink Floyd in full swing with a dash of The Tea Party and tinge of Stabbing Westward. Their songs may be a bit on the long side for a support act nobody gives a damn about, but time will have its heroes and Archive will be one of the names to watch out for in 2003 - and all credit to them for winning over a crowd that was only here for one reason . . .

. . . Gomez. Welcomed almost like they were Folkestone born and (in)bred, the respect dished out for Gomez is something else. They have their audience hanging on every chord - and while I'm far too cool to say it normally, I'm impressed. The depth of Gomez runs far deeper than what they put on display here tonight. Perpetually on the edge of breaking through into being a fully fledged rock band, they have this knack of holding back, holding back and holding back, never giving away the one thing they're always hinting at - big riffs and Nirvana type anthems - but it works.
    I never thought it possible to perform with this much restraint and keep your power, but Gomez pull it off like veterans, and for all I know, veteran they may be. It's always neat to see a band with no preconceptions. They may have one album or ten or put twenty years in on the road, I don't know. Until tonight I was just one of the many who had heard little more than their name, but Gomez have won me over.

As a virgin in this band's throng of faithful, I can't give you a song list, tell you their names or anything else, but each member of Gomez is a true professional, and each of the three frontmen/guitarists could carry the show alone. The beauty is, they don't have to. With a tight backing band, some trippy video screens and a back catalogue to die for, the world is at their feet and I can't honestly see them playing a venue this size again.
    If I've got any criticism, then it's the amount of laid back hippy shit they ploughed into the encores. It just seemed odd, but then, maybe that's just what they thrive on. Apart from that minor discrepancy they were good - damn good.

:: Sion Smith

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