Seattle Crocodile Club

[a]Gomez[/a] must be on the right track. Take some Delta blues sounds, give them a slight respray and the Yanks will fall for it wholesale...

Americans just don't get the British. How else do you explain the abominable Avengers movie? Or the lack of success of 98 per cent of Britain's chart-toppers over here. Suede? No thank you. Manic Street Preachers? Who?

The only success has been when the British take a US idea and sell it back to the Yanks. Take Blur. Strip away their Britishness, make a Pavement album, and - wham! - an immediate best seller. The Rolling Stones made a career out of it. All of which means Gomez must be on the right track. Take some Delta blues sounds, give them a slight respray and the Yanks will fall for it wholesale. The initial signs are certainly good. Peter Buck from REM is in the house tonight and - despite Seattle's reputation as 'grunge central' - the punters are out in force.

Tonight is the last date of the tour, and the lethargy of a solid month of playing the length and breadth of the States just enhances Gomez's drawn-out swamp blues. But ten minutes in, as they tumble into 'Love Is Better Than a Warm Trombone', a change comes over them. There is energy. They start jamming. They turn into The Grateful Dead! Gomez still look like a bunch of art-school graduates, but there's no mistaking it. They trade guitar licks, they nod their heads and the songs are elongated into extended jams. We're talking prime A-grade 1967 San Franciscan acid rock!

It's that feeling which spills over into the songs they debut from their forthcoming second album. With silky sweet vocals, 'Fill My Cup' brings to mind Jefferson Airplane. 'Hangover' even features that acid-rock standard - the faux sitar sound. By the time they reach '78 Stone Wobble' and 'Get Myself Arrested', they've prompted an outbreak of that crazy Deadhead hands-in-the-air hippy dance. You can almost smell the patchouli.

Then it clicks. Gomez are destined for US success. The Grateful Dead made a career out of playing to the hippy masses across the country. With Jerry Garcia's death, that left a whole crew of disenfranchised Deadheads just waiting for the next Messiah. Gomez just happen to fit the bill.

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