Gomez in Chicago – 7/21/12

This past Saturday, the boys of Gomez (hailing from the UK) made a stop in Chicago during the US leg of their tour.   In case you missed them at Summer Camp in 2009, Gomez is a five-piece British act consisting of Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitar), Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Paul Blackburn (bass, guitar), Olly Peacock (drums), and Ian Ball (vocals, guitar, harmonica).    Fun fact: Gomez records most of their music in Chicago.

Source: Gomez Facebook page

Now, for non-Chicagoans, this will take a bit of explaining as they were headliners at the annual “Garden Walk” (yes, really).

Here are the basics of the garden walk:  All day in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, people open their doors to their homes so you can walk around and see the gardens.  It’s adorable.  For those who don’t care that much about gardens (myself included) you simply go to the 3 blocks that are roped off for music, food, and booze.  It’s a good old-fashioned Chicago street festival, and you get to see pretty amazing bands for 10 bucks.

Gomez went on right at 8pm sharp, and after seeing over 15 Gomez sets in my day, I’m not exaggerating when I say the setlist was the best I’d ever seen.  Why?  Well, Gomez is hopping on the user-submitted setlist train, and has been letting the fans pick the music all summer long.  You can hop on their website before the show, pick 5 songs you want to see played, and submit.  It looks like this:

To all those in Chicago who went on and submitted… great job.  We were treated to songs I haven’t heard live in years – or ever – packed one after another in a set that truly showed the range of what these guys can do.  It was pretty clear who the Gomez fans were in the audience… being a street fest, it was a mix of about 1000 people ranging in age and knowledge or interest in the band.  But as the night picked up and the rare songs kept playing, there was a very clear set of 400-ish people that were are sharing the same amazing experience.  A particularly heavy round-up of songs off Five Men in a Hut and Split the Difference proved that Chi-town has a strong tie to Gomez and their deep collection of amazing music.

Check ‘em out, Scampers.  You have 2 more chances – Buffalo, NY tonight and Indy tomorrow, before they hop back across the pond and we wait for next year.