Ben Kweller/Gomez: The Showbox, Seattle, WA – 2/15/2007

Ben Kweller recently opened for British stars Gomez at Seattle’s Showbox club, and the openers put on a show that, while technically skilled (and at times, even, intriguing), unfortunately did little to raise the heartbeat of this reviewer.  It’s not that they were bad.  Indeed, as noted above, it was musically proficient, with Kweller’s crew of 15 year-old look-alikes (Kweller is 25, but retains the face of a teen) playing a proficient mix of songs that clearly appealed to the sizeable crowd of their fans in attendance.  For some reason, however, this reviewer found their set uninspiring, a lackluster updated version of the folk/rock of the 70s. 

ATO label-mates Gomez, by contrast, put on an engaging show, with Ian Ball, Ben Ottewell, and Tom Gray energetically taking turns in the revolving front-man role on vocals, guitar, and keyboard.  Similarly, their rhythm section, consisting of bass, drum-set, and percussionist, created an ongoing barrage of energy, rhythm, and power.  With a strong repertoire of songs from which to choose, they made sure to please fans from throughout their 11-year career, with a good mix of older and newer material.  Perhaps most interesting, as a near-rule with Gomez, was the mix of vocal styles as Ball, Ottewell, and Gray switched roles – from raspy, Bob Mould-esque stylings on one song to crystalline indie-pop vocalizing on the next, Gomez ensured a varied, and enjoyable, pop outing. 

Photo by Eric Townsend

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