Gomez Snags Mercury Prize, U.S. Tour

One of England's most prestigious music awards has been won by newcomers Gomez, whose album "Bring It On" downed the likes of The Verve's "Urban Hymns" and Pulp's "This is Hardcore" to take home the £25,000 ($42,000 USD) Mercury Prize.

The quintet is not much more than a year old. The blues-oriented guitar band formed last year at the Sheffield Hallam University and recorded half their debut album on a decidedly low tech four-track home studio.

Last year's winner of the Mercury Music Prize, Roni Size, presented the 1998 award at a ceremony in London Wednesday night. While collecting the prize, the band told the audience: "This album was recorded in our dad's garage. It is ridiculous that we are here."

The panel of judges described the album as "an intriguing blend of swamp blues, bar-room rock and eerie power." The judges also revealed that the 12 finalists were paired down to three tough choices: Gomez, Asian Dub Foundation's "Rafi's Revenge" and Cornershop's

"When I Was Born For the 7th Time." The remaining nominees included '"Proverbs And Songs" by John Surman, "Decksandrumsandrockandroll" by the Propellerheads, "Life Thru A Lens" from Robbie Williams, "International Velvet" by Catatonia, "Two Pages" by 4 Hero, "Red Rice" by Eliza Carthy and "Mezzazine" by Massive Attack.

The annual Mercury Prize is determined by an eight-member judging panel of music journalists and "creative" music industry personnel. The annual Brit Awards, on the other hand, are judged by record company people.

It won't be long before America gets to see what the fuss is all about. Gomez will be supporting Eagle Eye Cherry on a North American tour beginning at the end of this month.

The dates include:

  • 9/27 - Seattle
  • 9/28 - Vancouver
  • 9/29 - Portland
  • 9/30 - Sacramento
  • 10/2 - San Francisco (Gomez only)
  • 10/3 - Los Angeles
  • 10/4 - San Diego
  • 10/5 - Phoenix
  • 10/7 - Denver
  • 10/9 - Dallas
  • 10/10 - Austin
  • 10/11

    - Houston