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April 30, 2007 | by  | in Music |
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San Francisco Bathhouse,
Thursday April 19

As widely acknowledged and appreciated as they are, Gomez are always likely to draw a fairly diverse crowd, and this was definitely the case with Thursday’s show at the San Fran. Entering a packed venue and witnessing a seething mass of middle-aged couples brushing shoulders with indie kids and pseudo-punks is a little disorientating to say the least.

I turned up late enough to miss Wayne Anderson’s opening set, which I’m not really all that fussed about. From the look of the guy I really don’t think I missed out on much, unless musical genius is directly proportional to baldness and the donning of purple silk.

Opening with ‘Revolutionary Kind’ from 1999’s Liquid Skin, Gomez asserted their identity as a tight, road-hardened band right from the first few minutes of the performance. These guys have been playing together for a long time, and it shows. Drawing from a wide range of material from their five studio records, they ran through a lot of tracks from older albums (such as ‘Blue Moon Rising’ and the fantastic ‘Love Is Better Than A Warm Trombone’) as well as focusing on newer, more polished material from their latest release, How We Operate (‘Girlshapedlovedrug’ and ‘See The World’).

On occasion, the band tended to break down some of their songs and mess about with structure a bit, which was a bit tiresome. More than once during the second half of their set they stripped back a lot of guitar layers and meandered along with drum loops and sparse electronic noise, which detracted from the concise nature of the first half of the set and came off as a bit self-indulgent. One exception, however, was the insertion of a few bars of the sublime rock perfection of Led Zepplin’s ‘How Many More Times’ into ‘Hangover’, a rather neat trick that served to illustrate just how cohesive and inventive these guys can be.

Gomez put on a fairly good show that was, at certain points, fantastic. Notably, their performances of the anthemic ‘Get Myself Arrested’ (featuring a sweet crowd sing-along), ‘These Three Sins’ and ‘Whippin’ Picadilly’ were marvellous, delighting the enthusiastic sell out crowd. Let’s hope they visit us again sometime.

As a side note, having a venue full of people clamouring for a spot at the front of the crowd is somewhat akin to having 300 sugar-filled eight- year-olds bickering for a ride in the front seat of uncle Ray’s new car. Give it a rest, eh guys?

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