Jon Gomm is part of the resistance movement that opposes the big, faceless music industry, and everything it stands for. He is not signed to a record company, he is not on Spotify and he hates talent contests. Although his stance is noble, you get the feeling when you hear him talk about the “dark side”, that he is edging on the verge of music snobbery and pretentiousness, but this can be forgiven tonight as he is firmly in the presence of people who share his views.
Continuing the Star Wars references, when Gomm first appears onstage he has an uncanny resemblance to a Jedi knight, preferring to keep his face partially covered by a black hoody. It’s a tense atmosphere at first – he doesn’t say hello immediately, he blows his hands frequently in an attempt to warm them up, and he looks less than amused at the lighting. However, he soon comes round, introducing himself before treating us to an extended improvisation in order to warm up whilst simultaneously confirming the sound setup. It sure beats sound checking, as Gomm showcases his extended guitar abilities.
And tonight is all about his guitar abilities. Gomm is essentially a one man band. Equipped with nothing more than an acoustic guitar with a microphone inserted within, and some effect-pedals, Gomm is able to produce an unbelievable array of sounds. Highlighted none more so then when he performs ‘Telepathy’ and ‘Deep Sea Fishes’. The reverb on the former song produces shivers down the spine.
Gorilla is then turned into a disco as glittery lights and Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’ are introduced. The 10-minute long, prog-rock-influenced ‘Everything’ follows, which features another spine-tingling moment when Gomm incorporates a Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ homage.
The latter half of the gig serves only as fuel for Gomm’s ego. A superfluous guitar lesson for a room of people without guitars lasts too long. The “hit”. ‘Passion Flower’ gets the first real cheer of the night, and finally a Bob Marley cover, ‘Waiting in Vain’, where Gomm encourages everyone to sing, whilst placing himself as literally the centre of attention. The result is awkward and resembles an embarrassing family campfire sing-a-long.
Playing for just over two hours, Gomm’s set was entertaining, but perhaps, at times, it was he who was having the most fun rather than the audience. But who knows, maybe that’s the way things should be.
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