2nd May | O2 Academy
A sea of happy, contented faces filled the O2 Academy when celebrated indie rock group, Gomez performed to a sold-out crowd in Bristol as part of their twentieth anniversary tour of their debut album, Bring It On. They had a eighteen-song setlist, the first eleven of which were exactly as they appear on their debut record, starting with the rasping, growling opening track, ‘Get Miles.’ This is a band that appears on stage right on time, are polite and never miss a beat – otherwise described as reliably entertaining.
They are just as good live as those who caught them first time round remembered. Many of the audience could be heard exclaiming just that as this five-piece proved that their voices and musical skills were as strong and sharp as ever. The crowd gave a massive whoop as they launched into their second hit ‘Whippin’ Piccadilly.’
As they seamlessly started up the chords of the third song, ‘Make No Sound’, one of the band’s three lead singers, Ben Ottewell, said: “Good people of Bristol! Will you help us sing this next one or not? We are frayed – but you guys look great!” What followed was a wonderful, communal moment when everyone sang the lyrics: “She’s fine but wasting time, said to her there’s beauty.”
As they moved through their set, their easy interaction continued with the crowd. They challenged us to prove that we in the Wild West can sing intro riffs for songs better than the good folk of Glasgow – but who knows who won? They politely didn’t provide that information.
Many people’s favourite Gomez song has been ‘Get Myself Arrested’, so it was an obvious and real pleasure to hear this performed live by them so many years later. Once again the whole crowd sang along to certain parts like, “Got some friends in my BMW, tryin’ to get themselves arrested’ and the finale to this tune was long and drawn out to just the right level of hysteria.
Just before they provided us with the hugely anticipated song of the evening, ‘Bring It On,’ they shouted, “Thank you very much Bristol. Thank you for a very memorable night! Thanks for sticking with us for twenty years!” We then got two encores full of ‘Revolutionary Kind’ and some more of the fan favourite, ‘Whippin’ Piccadilly,’ leaving everyone with a collective display of satisfied grins.
The night was predominately full of people in their late thirties and upwards, and it seemed like everyone enjoyed Gomez just as much as they probably did the first time around. These lads might be older but they haven’t lost that chilled, addictive sound that makes them so very irresistible.