England's Gomez Bring It On To U.S. Stages

Retro-rockers will be opening for bluesy soul singer Eagle-Eye Cherry.

As his band prepares to launch its first tour of the States, Gomez

vocalist/guitarist Ben Ottewell said there's at least one advantage to the

fact that his British quintet is just now getting around to tackling U.S.


"We're more confident and comfortable as musicians than we were when we

made the album," said the 22-year-old Ottewell, who is making his first

trip to the U.S. for the tour.

That's because the group recorded its debut album, Bring It On, before

it ever played a live show. To take up the stage slack, Gomez spent months

breaking in their sound and sealing their musical confidence at European


As the opening act for blues/soul singer Eagle-Eye Cherry, Gomez will play

12 North American dates. The fall tour, Sept. 27-Oct. 11, will take them

from Seattle to San Francisco, finally closing out the jaunt in Houston.

The band's setlist for the tour is expected to focus on Bring It On,


was released in the U.S. earlier this month. On the album, the band crosses

Grateful-Dead-style psychedelic rock with Beck's sample-enriched musical

montages. Gomez fortify the mix with elements of the blues,

funk, folk and whatever else that exists beyond and between.

"For us, it's an adventure, a continuing dialogue about music and what we

feel about music," said vocalist/guitarist Tom Gray, 21. "We love it. We

adore music, and every kind of music. We don't come from a genre; we don't

come from a scene. We're just five guys from a garage in the North of


A far cry from Brit-pop, Gomez take retro-rock influences and bring them

into the present with songs such as the catchy

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Gomez/78_Stone_Wobble.ram">"78 Stone

Wobble" (RealAudio excerpt), on which Ottewell, Gray and Ian Ball

alternate singing the lead vocal. (The singer-guitarists are joined in the

band by bassist Paul Blackburn and drummer Olly Peacock.) Each voice

conjures up a different feel, with Ottewell sounding bluesy and soulful

while Ball offers a melodic pop clarity and Gray delivers a treated,


Ottewell says several of Gomez's songs have taken stylistic turns as the

band has developed them onstage. "They've filled out a lot," he says.

"We'd get bored if we played them exactly the way they are on the


Gomez Tour Dates:

Sept. 27; Seattle, Wash., Aro Space

Sept. 28; Vancouver, B.C., Sonar

Sept. 29; Portland, Ore., La Luna

Sept. 30; Roseville, Calif., Big Shots

Oct. 2; San Francisco, Calif., Bottom of the Hill (Gomez only)

Oct. 3; Los Angeles, Calif., El Rey Theatre

Oct. 4; San Diego, Calif., Cane's

Oct. 5; Phoenix, Ariz., Gibson's

Oct. 7; Denver, Colo., Bluebird

Oct. 9; Dallas, Texas, Galaxy

Oct. 10; Austin, Texas, La Zona Rosa

Oct. 11; Houston, Texas, Instant Karma