I think I’ve written this before but Gomez were the first band I ever saw live – or at least that’s what I tell people. I did see Steps or possibly S-Club 7, at least someone of that ilk, at a local kids disco called the Frenzy. In that case though I was only there for chasing girls and the underage drinking, which means it doesn’t count. So Gomez were the first band I went to see with my own money spent on the ticket and the intention of watching the band. It was at the Royal Court in Liverpool with Coldplay in support, I strangely enough can’t think of any gigs I’ve been to there since.
Gomez had burst onto the scene with a Mercury music prize win in 1998 with “Bring it on” which made me dive into an album which was on the periphery of my knowledge. I loved it, I think I then bought every subsequent single and it’s an album I know back to front. The follow up “Liquid skin” (which funnily enough actually features the song “Bring it on”) I devoured just as rabidly. Then I didn’t buy anything else, didn’t really listen to anything else and looking back I don’t think I could tell you why.
I guess it’s not like today where I could just put on the latest Gomez album, there was a bit more effort. If a friend hadn’t bought it and lent it (or copied it for you!) then that meant having to buy the latest release first, which in Gomez’s case was “Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline”. A collection of unreleased material, live sessions, B-sides – which I already had from buying the singles. Maybe it was having the B-sides already but the album didn’t ever make it up my listening list and so, like the shopping trolley, Gomez’s new releases were abandoned by me and I drifted away from the band as an active fan.
It’s something that I think used to happen often, sometimes it doesn’t take much, a less than stellar album or just missing a release amongst everything else and suddenly a band you once loved are like strangers. Over my music listening lifetime it’s happened with plenty of artists, The Stereophonics, Snow Patrol, The Foo Fighters. I guess some of it is inevitable as back catalogues grow, you don’t enjoy some albums as much and you stick to the albums clumped around that period of the band you preferred.
But these bands often hold a special place in your heart and it’s just as easy to drift back in.
A little behind me my sister attended the same university (shoutout to Keele) and Gomez were rocking up at the student union, probably sometime around 2007. Would I fancy a catch up and go and watch the gig? An excuse to head back to the old haunt of the student union, watch a band I’d once been heavily into, who wouldn’t?
So tickets in hand we headed to the same room that I’d seen Chesney Hawkes and Timmy Mallet on, hallowed ground indeed. Gomez took the stage and blasted out a typically energetic set with plenty I knew “Get myself arrested”, “Rhythm and Blues Alibi” and of course “Whippin’ Piccadilly”. But I left that night with two songs buzzing round my head, “Hamoa beach” and “Girlshapedlovedrug”. Armed with the snippets of lyrics I could remember, as I have done after many gigs, I was off to google after the gig and subsequently ordered “How we operate” which featured both tracks and “Split the difference”, the other studio album I’d missed in the interim.
I was back in, I was hooked again, two great albums that have firmly become part of my listening with Gomez. I was reminded of this by Tom Gray on twitter who tweeted that Gomez have done some really good stuff over the years and Tom, you’re damn right you have.