Concert review: Gomez, The Powerstation

By Chris Schulz

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Despite showing signs of tour fatigue, Gomez still proved to be entertaining at their Auckland show. Photo / Supplied
Despite showing signs of tour fatigue, Gomez still proved to be entertaining at their Auckland show. Photo / Supplied

With their bristly beards and backpacker chic, it was hard to believe that Gomez were once one of the world's hippest bands as they casually ambled onto the Powerstation stage.

Their cool factor came from their brilliantly inventive 1998 debut, the Mercury Music Prize-winning Bring It On that the Brits have been trading off ever since, happily churning out top quality but low-key albums every few years.

For Kiwi fans of their off-kilter blues-rock, they've also been frequent New Zealand visitors, with tonight's show their third at Auckland's Powerstation in just six years.

But it was a weary band that loped on stage as the five-piece kicked off with subdued versions of Revolutionary Kind and I Will Take You There, admitting afterwards they were suffering fatigue after touring endlessly "for four years".

"After this, we're going on holiday," declared Tom Gray, one of the band's three vocalists whose regular sighs and declarations of "argh" between songs proved to be particularly bad form.

It was never going to be a typical Gomez show, with the first half of the set made up of hits and singles, and the second half consisting of 10 songs chosen by fans via an online poll to celebrate their 15th "Quincenera" tour.

That turned them a shambolic jukebox as crowd favourites like Girlshapedlovedrug and Whippin' Piccadilly were paired with rarer tracks, like the awesomely goofy mid-set highlight Machismo.

After that sluggish start they kicked into gear with the sentimental "sha-la-las" of See the World and early hit Get Myself Arrested, getting so rowdy during the singalong chorus that drummer Olly Peacock broke a drumstick.

There's so much to love about Gomez: Their try-anything twice attitude sees them throwing sampled vocals and hip-hop beats into their blues, rock, dub and soul blender; the band's five members prove their versatility by frequently swapping instruments; and their three vocalists - Ian Balls' laidback croon, Ottewell's bluesy growl, and Gray's chirpy presence - intertwine perfectly.

And it was a real treat to hear all three in action as they harmonised together on the beautifully bluesy Detroit 66, before winding up with a euphoric How We Operate and the foot-stomping recent single Options.

Their Quincennera tour didn't prove to be the essential Gomez performance, but they still know how to leave on a high, with an electric Get Miles proving that tired Gomez is still miles better than no Gomez.

What: Gomez
Where: The Powerstation, Auckland
When: Thursday, October 25

- nzherald.co.nz

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