An exploration of musical multiplicity and how (not) to court manly men.
Enhanced by psychedelic sounds and Ben Ottewell's whiskey-drenched voice, Gomez's sophisticated blues-rock has the potential to help them do what so few British rock bands have done in recent memory -- woo America's manly, mainstream men. And sure enough, the craziest fans at the Vic Theatre in the artsy Belmont area of Chicago were athletic-looking guys in their mid-twenties. The pair jumped and screamed louder than anyone. But, then, two such fans do not a successful courtship make. Truth told, about 80 percent of the chairs were full when Gomez took the stage and the faces filling them couldn't have been more different. That's a dangerous position for any band to be in. If audience members feel that they have nothing more in common than the tickets in their hands, an absence of community is felt. And that makes building a solid, devoted fanbase hard. Bands sell identity along with music, and until the public can name typical traits of a Gomez fan, there's nothing for mainstream audiences to latch on to. But then, maybe they're not interested in honing their image, in joining the stadium class. After all, the band's mish-mash of fans is enough to fill 1,200 seats, and that's nothing to sniff at. And they certainly seem to like variety. Ottewell may have stood centerstage with his guitar, but he isn't the bandleader. The band has cultivated three great vocalists (many bands don't even have one) and five songwriters.