Imagine it’d be pretty frustrating for a UK band that’s been around for yonks (like 15 years worth of yonks) to haul ass back to North America and remind ’emselves that everyone’s still most excited about the stuff from their first album. But such is the cross that Gomez has had to bear, because Bring It On remains a bit of a masterpiece.

So colour me surprised when they brought most of ’em back for this show. In fact, not since ’98, when I saw the original tour for that album, have I heard so many from BIO stitched back into the setlist. But at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom (only half-filled but half-filled with smiling devotees), Gomez dusted off an enormous whack of ’em: “Get Miles”, “Whippin’ Piccadilly” (which bookended the gig, asIan and Ben, Gomez (pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com) the band came on stage to a lighter, female-sung cover version, and then played it again at t’end), “Get Myself Arrested” (major singsong!),  and “Here Comes the Breeze” (astoundingly, beautifully epic) all sounded so warm.

Warm, that’s what it all felt like, in fact. It was like somewhere around song four or five, the band – lookin’ a wee bit weary but utterly pleased to be back in Vancouver (Tom Gray said so! And meant it!) – just let go. This was a relaxed Gomez that actually looked like it was having fun. Not goofing-off fun, but nodding-at-each-other-yeah-this-is-sounding-good fun. Ben shredded his guitar, Tom played MC, Ian pulled the wide-legged rock stance, Olly presided over the shiniest and most ridiculous huge drum kit, and for the first time I noticed what a thoroughlyexcellent bassplayer Blackie is.

In fact, speaking of just letting go, “Whatever’s On Your Mind” from the new album of the same name, sounded stellar. (“This is hymn to not letting the bastards get you down,” said Tom, “though they will try. Oh…they will try,”)  Same goes for the gritty, bluesy take on “Meet Me in the City”. And “Airstream Driver” wended and built itself into a really fucking great psychedelic jam.

“Revolutionary Kind”, “Options” (another singsong!), “In our Gun” and pretty much most of this Portland setlist sounded….just amazingly warm and lovely. Combined with those Bring It On stunners from ’98, the use of a melodica, lots of on-stage beers and Ben’s enormo-voice,  and you’ve got yourself an utterly great show. Nice one, Gomez…yer all can coomback, la’s. \m/

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