Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thisclose to Gomez

Last night I headed into the CBD and met my work mate Carl and his friend Lindy at the HiFi for a rockin' concert by Gomez.

Gomez is a UK phenomenon that is in that really good place where they have a huge fan base, but are still playing the smaller venues. I had never heard of them before coming to Australia, though I know that at least one of my friends is a fan, because I remember seeing the name on my music list on the home computer. Once I heard them on the radio out here, I was a fan, and very upset that I didn’t "pack" their CDs!

We arrived at the venue at 8:30, and waited as the line creeped down into the hall. There were sadly no tickets, everyone just had this internet receipt that they’d printed after buying the tickets online. This should be a good idea, but the only way for the ticket takers to check for real receipts was for them to check your confirmation number off a long list. Hence, the really long line out the door.

Anyway, around 9:00, a couple of guys decked out in leis and Hawaiian shirts come on stage and proclaim that in honor of Hawaii National Day (?!) they are going with the tropical theme for the night. They then proceeded to play Elvis’s Blue Hawaii rendition of "I can’t help falling in love with you", which morphed into some rocking song of their own. Now, this is not Gomez, but the opening act, whose name I never even heard. Who’s lyrics I never really heard either, but they were very energetic, which made up for it. The highlight of the set occurred when the lead singer/guitarist ripped off his guitar and played some tom-toms at very high speed and then the whole band collapsed and the Beach Boys "Kokomo" came on and a bunch of their friends dressed in Hawaiian gear came out and hulaed and threw beach balls into the crowd and drank out of pineapples all while stepping over the exhausted band. This was not the end of the set, they did get up and play a few more songs, but it was definitely the highlight.

Half an hour later, Gomez steps out. This is the most non-rock star regular guy looking band you’ve ever seen. One of the three lead singers looked like a swollen James Spader, and another looked just a little bit like my friend Aaron (it must have been the glasses!). (Something to think about Aaron, if you feel like smoking a bunch of cigarettes to get your voice all husky and then getting a British accent.) The three leads stood up front and the bass, drums, and percussion guys all hung out in the back, and I’m not sure I ever saw the drummer smile. Hmm. Very mysterious.

The band played for a good couple of hours, and each lead got his solo song at various points in the show. They came out for one encore and played the one song I knew really well and some stuff that was definitely older and had a bit of a different feel. It was all good.

The crowd was pretty good, too. We did have your token girls swooning up front trying to get the performer's eye, and the too-drunk couple that sang really loud and out of tune, but other than that, a quality crowd that sang and danced along with the band throughout the night. Carl was the right-up-front kind of fan, so we all stayed about three people back from the stage. Not quite my norm, but it turned out really well.

That being said, I have to say my favourite part was seeing my friend Carl dance. Carl is a good looking bloke, (and he'd be the first to point it out) but when he danced, he led with his neck. It pretty much resembled someone trying to jump into a game of double dutch. Heh. There is justice in the world.

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