Walked into the House of Blues Anaheim as the Kopecky Family Band was playing to small patches of people on the floor. The young sextet were like a more rockin’ version of The Low Anthem as some members switched instruments after each song, playing trumpets, accordions, tambourines, or maracas when needed. The mix made it very difficult to make out the lyrics, but they had a very pleasant sound.
This was the second to last night of Gomez‘ West Coast tour in support of their seventh studio album, Whatever’s On Your Mind. The British quintet, comprised of Ian Ball (vocals, guitar, synth), Paul Blackburn (bass), Tom Gray (vocals, guitars), Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitars, synth) and Olly Peacock (drums), either haven’t risen above cult status or don’t have a lot of pull in Orange County because we were able to get into the second row of bodies in front of the stage after KFB finished.
Gomez opened the show going back to their debut album Bring It On, playing the title track in a different arrangement but one that still rocked. “Hamoa Beach” exemplified what a tight rhythm section the band has as Olly’s brushes were locked in with Paul’s bass yet they didn’t look at each other. “That Wolf” was the first of eight of the ten tracks from Whatever’s played this evening.
“Shot Shot” began the start of rotating guests as a three-piece horn section came out and Gomez was so gracious the horns got the spotlight. The horns left and a woman named Stephanie came out to see sing with Tom on “See The World.” Ian left before the melancholy “Sweet Virgina” began. Tom created very good effects on his guitar, and Ian returned to join as they created a great cacophonous wall of sound to close out the song. About halfway through the set, some people began to holler for “Tijuana Lady” at every break and Ben kept telling them it wouldn’t work. The horns, Stephanie, and even the cello player from KFB came on and off at different times during the remainder of the show. Some young man took over on bass during “Equalize” and the lead singer/guitar player from KFB joined in on “Options.” They closed out the main set with a big flourish on their big hit “How We Operate.”
After a brief break, Ian and Tom came back with acoustic guitars and encouraged future suggestions from the audience by performing an unplanned excerpt from “Tijuana Lady” to the delight of the hardcore fans. The setlist went full circle back to their debut as they concluded with the horns and Stephanie on “Devil Will Ride,” sending the crowd out into the night on an upbeat note.
Though a little too much focus on their latest release for my taste, Gomez did a very good job covering their entire catalog so no fan should have felt left out no matter what album they came to the band. The quintet and friends put on an entertaining show with strong performances all around. This was my third occasion to see them and I’ve been satisfied every time.
“Devil Will Ride”