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Back to San Diego: Gomez at Belly Up

The last of my birthday celebrations came this past Tuesday night with a concert by my favorite band at one of my favorite venues. Such perfect icing on the cake (birthday cake…..hehe…. get it?) Gomez has been my favorite band for about 14 years starting with a random free preview of Canada’s Much Music channel on a boring weekend my freshman year of high school. Once I discovered these English blokes (does it sound cool when I say that?), I was hooked.

Lucky for me Gomez seems to love San Diego. I’ve seen them at least a half-dozen times over the years at a range of venues around town- House of Blues, Coors Cricket Wireless Amphitheater, outside of Anthology (at KPRi’s StreetBeat last year), and at Belly Up on Tuesday (for the third time at this spot.) Every live show I see from these guys is full of passionate music-playing and a showcase of their varied sound… and this one was no exception.

Requisite crummy camera phone shot...

Touting 15 years of touring, this collection of dates was dubbed the “Quinceañera Tour.” Fans were invited to go online and vote for their favorites songs to be played in each city. With such an extensive catalog of songs concert-goers had plenty to choose from. Imight have voted a few dozen times to try to make sure certain songs made the cut. Gomez made the setlist even more enticing by dividing it into two parts. The first dozen songs were of their choosing and ranged from a soulful rendition of “Blue Moon Rising” (a song from 13 years ago) to “Options” a peppy tune off their newest album.

After a brief intermission (in which some people ran out for a smoke… ahem) the band returned to present the top ten songs voted on by fans in San Diego. This set was just as varied as the first and featured tons of my top choices (not like that’s hard to do.) Nothing quite like belting out “Get Myself Arrested” along with the band and remembering all the times I’ve done it before at home and at venues. Hearing “Rosalita” live for the first time (although the song is over a decade old) was achingly beautiful and a reminder of how timeless these tunes are.

It’s no surprise that after 15 years of shows Gomez had a polished sound and offered a poised presentation of all 22 songs played. What continues to impress me after all these years is the excitement with which they do it. Tom Gray (one of three vocalists) looks as gracious to see the fans as he did when I first saw them at Belly Up eight years ago. Ben Ottewell (with his signature deep raspy voice as sexy as ever) signaled sound techs for changes to various things between swigs of a beer- a small indication that he still gives a shit about what the fans are getting and the quality of the sound. And though I would think I’d be less star struck by the guys after all these years, I did a total happy dance when my mom begged a setlist off the roadie, who in turn asked the drummer, Olly Peacock, to fork it over. Yes, I hung it on my bedroom wall that night.

Thanks, Mom!

From danceable pop-rock songs to heart-string teasing tunes Gomez offers an amazing array of music. They’ve been the soundtrack for my life ever since I was a bratty little 15 year-old loving that I had a favorite band no one I knew had heard of. (Oohhhh I was so interesting and different. Why yes, that t-shirt in my sophomore class photo, featuring a Ouija board was from Hot Topic.) A band that pleased my novice teenage listening skills continues to thrill me as I pretend to be an adult and claim to have a bit of a better understanding of music. And I just cross my fingers that they keep finding their way back to San Diego for another 15 years.

Sounds to Sample from Gomez (is “all of them” an option?):

“78 Stone Wobble” -the song that started it all for me.

“Just as Lost as You” – one of the newest songs… they still got it.

“Little Pieces” – during the hardest days of my life I still found a way to dance to this one.

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About Jen Van Tieghem

There aren’t many things I love more than music. While life spins away at a rapid beat I’ve realized it’s important to spend it doing what I love – enjoying music in San Diego. I have a handful of favorite venues, a heart full of favorite bands, and decided to write about it.

3 comments on “Back to San Diego: Gomez at Belly Up

  1. […] Back to San Diego: Gomez at Belly Up: A set of sensational songs- new and old followed by a top ten of San Diego’s Gomez favorites. My favorite band never disappoints. I danced until my face hurt. […]

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  2. […] high school I branched out a bit more from mainstream music, discovering my favorite band, Gomez, and devouring the sounds recommended to me by people older and (presumably) cooler than […]

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  3. […] of multiple singers is reminiscent of some of my favorite bands including the UK’s Gomez (my all time favorite band) as both bands offer a Beatles-esque appeal. The group is currently playing in support of their […]

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