Leicester De Montfort University

Watching this, you understand instinctively why punk happened...

The show lasts for one hour and 45 minutes tonight. During that time, [a]Gomez[/a] play 13 songs. During one of many desperate mental drives to the bowels of distraction, you start working out that’s around eight minutes per song. I hesitate to tell you what went on during those long minutes.

If [a]Gomez[/a]’s only crime was singing the blues with a gravelly voice despite being under 50 and not having a liver like a Brillo Pad, then sod the authenticity police, bring it on.

But you realise tonight that there is a sickness afoot here far beyond mere style. This is the sound of rock’n’roll’s grave being dug, filled and politely sat on for an ethnic-flavoured ‘jamming’ session. Image isn’t the half of it. The bumfluff beards, the social science specs, the washed and gone hair, and the spliffhead kecks just warn you we’re dealing with hippies. So where do you start in defining their crimes? You could point to the surplus to requirements bongo/maracas/washboard/coconuts/sitar/ Moldavian noseflute player; the paradiddly percussion, or the cripplingly naff Magic Eye tie-dye carpet slide show, or the way they sit down onstage like King Crimson, or the mumbling Mogadon between-song repartee.

Encompassing it all, though, is their insistence, for want of any other ideas, on using every tune as an excuse to lead into some godawful folkblueswahwahfiddlyfunkfusionflailalong tagged obligatorily onto the end or the middle as if the song wouldn’t be done justice by anything less.

But wait. We’re plumbing untold depths now. Whistle up the dogs and piss on the fire, they’re segueing into a version of ‘Pump Up The Volume’! And now, ye gods deliver us, it’s the refrain from Michael Jackson‘s ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something’. Words fail me. And yet, everyone goes mad for it, just like when your local pub band do a version of ‘You Sexy Thing’. Even that is barely the start of [a]Gomez[/a]’s eclectic ambitions. ‘California’ features acid house beats and a washboard break, then, oh yes, taste the terror, a drum solo! ‘Las Vegas Dealer’ mutates from cod-Latin hand-clapping into time-sig meltdown organ-grinding prog-rock apocalypse! The next one’s soft-rock meandering sounds like Crosby, Stills & Nash having a dysentery attack!

Even good songs like ’78 Stone Wobble’ and ‘Get Myself Arrested’ cannot be left alone. They have to be stretched every which way on the muso rack until there’s not a drop of life left in them. Watching this, you understand instinctively why punk happened. If the blues is the Devil’s music, then this is the Devil amusing himself with the variety of his own farts. So let he who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast. It’ll be more fun than watching this.

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