Review: Indie band Gomez remind us of why they won the Mercury Music Prize at Norwich’s Waterfront

Gomez and Grant Ley at Waterfront

Gomez and Grant Ley at Waterfront - Credit: Archant

Mercury Music Prize award winners Gomez return to Norwich for the 20th anniversary of the album.

Gomez and Grant Ley at Waterfront

Gomez and Grant Ley at Waterfront - Credit: Archant

Of all the many 1990s to early 2000s band reformations happening at the moment the return of British indie band Gomez has to be amongst the most welcome.

Not only do they have a bona fida Mercury Music Prize winners medal to their name (and from an era when it really meant something), it's also the 20th anniversary of said album (1998's brilliant Bring It On) being released.

And it's that landmark which has seen the five-piece return to action for a series of British dates, including Saturday night's gig at The Waterfront.

Originally planned for the LCR, the gig's move to a smaller venue helps to give it an intimacy those attending any other of their 2018 concerts may not have been able to enjoy.

Gomez and Grant Ley at Waterfront

Gomez and Grant Ley at Waterfront - Credit: Archant

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This tour sees them 'celebrating' that aforementioned album by playing it in full, before finishing with around half a dozen of their other songs from their prolific and immense back catalogue.

The beauty of that is you get to relive this classic in all it's glory, the highlights being opener Get Miles, an epic Tijuana Lady, Get Myself Arrested and Free To Run.

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The slight downside is that some of their very best songs, in particular a jaunty Whippin Piccadilly, get played too early before people are properly warmed up.

It matters little though because this 100-minute set is a reminder that Gomez are one of the best British bands of the last two decades.

Grent Jey supporting Gomez

Grent Jey supporting Gomez - Credit: Archant

Lead singer Ben Ottewell has lost none of his stage presence or, thankfully, singing voice. He still has a rasp that could truly wake the dead. Ian Ball and Tom Gray, meanwhile, chip in with vocals helping to create a setlist that is diverse and never grows tiresome.

Gomez are, and always will be, one of this author's favourite bands thanks to a back catalogue of killer tracks and the ability to produce an ear-splitting swampy rock classic one minute and heartfelt and soulful tune the next.

And tonight's gig is a perfect reminder of why we need this band back on the scene now more than ever.

* A big hat tip to Norwich-based support act Grant Ley who warms up and already sizeable crowd with a collection of tender Ed Sheeran-esque sing-a-long songs. Ley is about to tour himself and is well worth an evening of your time.

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