Gomez returns; Live Review: Cordero…

Category: Blog — @ 12:25 pm May 10, 2006

First off, I apologize for screwing up reporting the time when An Iris Pattern went on stage. Last night’s show began at 8 p.m., not 9. So anyone who showed up at 9 sharp missed their entire set. Luckily, no one reads my site, so no one was disappointed… but me. I’m told they played very well, but it looks like I’ll have to wait until May 26 when they play O’Leaver’s to find out for myself. Incidentally, show promoter Marc Leibowitz pointed out that more and more, booking agents are pressuring for shows to start at 8 p.m., especially hardcore, metal and punk-pop shows that draw a younger audience. Do the right thing and check the 1 Percent website for the most accurate start times for their respective shows.

Despite my disappointment, I hung around and watched Bloodshot Records band Cordero play their brand of Latin-influenced rock — think of them as a sort of fusion of Los Lobos with 10,000 Maniacs, but with lots of trumpet and heavier guitars. As hard as they pleaded with the tiny audience, they couldn’t get anyone to dance, though their music definitely came with plenty of swing. A pleasant surprise. Headliner Koufax was next, and I stuck around for a couple of their songs. Someone told me before their set that they reminded him of Elvis Costello. I didn’t hear it. Instead, they reminded me of Spoon, but maybe the set got Elvis-ier as the night went on.

* * *

Back to business as usual: This week’s “special feature” is an interview with Gomez bassist/guitarist Paul Blackburn. He talks about the band’s departure from Hut/Virgin, their strange acceptance into the jam band community, their new label and new record, How We Operate. Here’s the lead to wet your appetite:

Where did Gomez go?

People who followed the band after their ’98 breakthrough debut, the Mercury Prize winning Bring It On, just assumed that its success was the launching pad for the British band’s rise on the American pop charts. More than once the phrases “on the heels of Oasis” and “the new Beatles” were seen printed in national music rags.

On top of that, the band’s cover of The Beatles’ “Getting Better” became a pseudo-hit when it was used in a Phillips light bulb TV commercial. Some thought it was better than the original, thanks to Tom Gray’s and Ben Ottwell’s gravelly delivery.

The band followed Bring It On with Liquid Sky in ’99 and In Our Gun in ’02, both released on tiny Hut Records, a subsidiary of Virgin. But with every subsequent release, Gomez failed to recapture the hype that surrounded their debut, even though the music was just as clever and catchy. By the time Split the Difference was released in ’04, Hut Records had disintegrated, making it their last release involving Virgin.

“From a recognition standpoint, it’s been an interesting ride,” said Gomez bassist/guitarist Paul Blackburn via cell phone after just arriving in New Orleans, where the band was scheduled to perform as part of the city’s famous Jazz and Heritage Festival that evening. “We started out and got some acclaim with our first album, and after that, we kind of got whacked a bit.”

The story continues here. Go read it! Almost everything made it into the piece, except for Blackburn’s comments about New Orleans after the hurricane — mainly because he didn’t have anything to say. Yes, they’d played there before the storm, and this was their first time back, but he hadn’t driven into the city yet (their cab pulled up during the interview) and hadn’t really seen any devastation. How would the band acknowledge the city’s tragedy from stage? He hadn’t thought about it. He was more stoked to be playing in New Orleans on Cinco de Mayo. “I’m not sure what state we’ll be in.” Nice.

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