I stumbled across Gomez a few years back completely by accident, and it was one of those serendipitous occurrences which sublimely alter the very substance of the universe itself.
I was playing games with a friend of mine, and he was wearing a T-shirt from ANOTHER obscure band with a funky name which also starts with a G. I commented on the shirt, and he told me that he knew the guys in the band personally, and we left it at that.
Months later, I’m in a Barnes & Noble, checking out the overpriced CDs there, and I see a new release from Gomez – Split The Difference, I think. I look at it, read about them, and I’m suddenly intrigued. I’m thinking, “Slack KNOWS these guys? Wow!” Of course, he doesn’t – he knows the guys in another band. I don’t think Slack could ever get turned on to Gomez.
Now, about that time, I was also on a Napster kick, trying to discover some new music, because Tool, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails just aren’t that prolific. I’d already found Death Cab, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Mono, Elbow, and several others which are in regular rotation on my stereo now. Napster was great – I even tried the pay version for a while before my computer died and I lost the software. So when I got home from Barnes & Noble (having not bought anything except a coffee in the Café), I spun up a little Gomez on Napster, and I liked what I heard.
The song was “Get Miles,” off of their debut album, Bring It On. The slow build, layered guitar textures, and Ben Ottewell’s gravelly voice made me an immediate fan. I downloaded everything I could from Napster, burned it onto a CD, and took it to Freitag. He listened, gave it his thumbs up of approval, and he and I became two of only a handful of people living in Atlanta who knew who Gomez were.
I had to go to Criminal Records to find more stuff by the band – the CD that Barnes & Noble had in stock went into overstock, I’m pretty sure, and, well, Criminal is a good place to find a wide variety of low-priced CDs by smaller-name bands.
Things stayed that way for a few years, and then The Fray came to town – with Gomez and Eisley opening. And thus for the first time, I got to see Gomez live. Freitag went with me, and we parked our shiny asses on the lawn at Lakewood, watched the tail end of Eisley and all of Gomez, then left as The Fray roadies started setting up. History, BTW, will relegate The Fray to obscurity soon enough.
In the meantime, Gomez is building it repertoire and its following. I don’t think they sold out the 1100-capacity Center Stage Tuesday night, but they came close, and those of us lucky enough to catch them got a great set. Highlights for those who know Gomez: “Get Myself Arrested”, “Detroit Swing 66″,” Notice”,” How We Operate”.
I really dig the new single, “Airstream Driver”.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of Gomez’s growing success is one typical of many bands like them: whenever an eclectic British indie pop band has “obnoxious frat boy guy with the white man’s overbite and the feathered sweep across the forehead a la Sean Hannity haircut” in attendance, you know they’re on the verge. The presence of such a person means that the band’s influence has crept into the very fringes of our society.
I’m not a particularly violent guy, and fraternus obnoxicus wasn’t actually doing anyone any harm (except probably thinking about voting Republican again in the fall), but there was a moment during “Get Myself Arrested” when I thought it’d be serendipitous for me to do something that would result in just that.
The moment passed, however, and the universe was not changed.
Or was it?