They weren’t serving tea this past Wednesday at Clutch
Cargo’s, but a spectacular Euro mullet, a few English accents
and one really bad joke left the audience of metro Detroiters with
a decidedly British taste in their mouths.

Gomez, this flavorful Brit rock group, was scheduled to play a
show at the venue that night. However, after the Thrills kicked out
a few tunes to open the show, a short, fearless man stood at the
edge of the stage to announce that Gomez had cancelled their set,
and that “Harpoon, the amazing band from Sweden” would
be playing instead. The crowd was dead silent. A few minutes later,
six guys that looked incredibly similar to the members of Gomez
appeared on stage. Not funny, really.

Before a sigh of relief could even escape the audiences’
lips, Harpoon, a.k.a. Gomez, had already begun to tackle
“Nothing is Wrong” from their latest album, Split the
Difference, and revealed what Brits are renowned for: playing great
rock music.

Although the guys were a little less talkative than usual during
the performance, the music was extremely tight. All of the tracks
played off of Split the Difference sounded as if they had been
toured on for years, rather than only a few months, and as
impressive as the new material sounded live, it was older favorites
such as “In Our Gun,” “Here Comes the
Breeze” and “Free to Run” that solidified the
Gomez experience. The band took their time with each of these
tracks, extending into exciting outro jams which strayed from the
packaged sets the group too often plays.

In fact, the well-rounded setlist displayed the artistic
multi-ability of the majority of the band, as Ian Ball, Tom Gray
and Ben Ottewell all had lead vocal and guitar roles during the
set. Gray revved up “Catch Me Up” with a speedy version
of the recorded original, while Ottewell plowed the crowd over with
his unrelenting vocal chords on “Bring It On” and
“There It Was.”

After a thorough two-hour set full of intricate keyboard work,
intense vocal harmonies and classic guitar riffs, the crowd proudly
displayed their affection by chanting “Harpoons, Harpoons,
Harpoons!” to get the guys back onstage for an encore.
“Detroit Swing 66” stood as the obvious closer before
Ottewell wowed the audience with his soul-filled vocals in a
beautiful rendition of “Tijuana Lady.” With a final
serge of energy, the band whipped out “Whippin’
Picadilly” to conclude the show, while the entire audience
belted out in unison with the band, “We like lovin’,
yeahhhh!”

Already a grizzled group of tour veterans, Gomez cemented their
status as touring giants, delicately covering their new material
while instilling energy into longtime favorites. By any name,
Gomez’s playful, yet professional presence sets them apart
from other live acts.

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