Far too many years have gone by since the last time I experienced the brilliance of Gomez live. In fact, the only other show of theirs that I have attended was at the CMJ Music Marathon back in what I believe was '97. That entire night was a blur, as I got to share some drinks with the guys after the performance at some random British pub here in NYC. Nearly one decade later I was reunited with my drinking pals at the Levi's/FADER Trading Post, where they sounded even better than I remember them from years ago.
After enjoying a few Southern Comfort cocktails beforehand, I wiggled my way up to the front of the crowd when Gomez took the stage at 4:30pm. As the performance began, Tom Gray and Ben Ottewell welcomed the crowd to the party. Gray then asked: "Does anybody dance at this party?" As they began their instrumental intro, he said: "Well if you don't, what kind of f*cking party is this?" Ottewell had no problem getting everybody's feet moving as he jumped off the stage and got his groove on with a few ladies in the audience.
What I love about Gomez is that not only are they musically fantastic on stage, but they also seem to truly enjoy performing. The fun they have is contagious, which spread around to the rest of us. Their stage show is totally unpretentious; they just come across as a bunch of super nice and talented dudes having a great time playing music. More bands should follow their lead, leave their egos at home and just have fun making music.
Most of the material from Gomez's all too brief set was off their whiskey-soaked new album How We Operate. "See The World" showed off the band's perfect balance of folk and pop, with their vocal harmonies bouncing along over acoustic guitar lines. The five-piece had a full sound, yet one member never overpowered the other. The tambourine was just as clear as the bass guitar. After their years of touring, these guys have totally nailed down the art of their live performances.
One of my favorites was "Girlshapedlovedrug", with even more of the band's mind blowing live harmonies. Electric guitars and keys were much more prominent on this tune, giving the band a chance to rock out just a bit. You can't help but smile when they play this one live. With the sun shining and a warm breeze was blowing across the crowd, it was like springtime had just arrived.