Jon Gomm at The Ruby Lounge
It had been a couple of years since I last saw Jon Gomm but a series of gigs around the country includes an overdue return to Manchester so it would be rude not to go along.
Words & Photos: Anthony Firmin
Support is from local boy John Ainsworth who is perfect for this show, his style not dissimilar from Jon Gomm’s and his set is simply stunning with his virtuoso guitar playing. Later in the set his requests for tequila shots were met by members of the audience and all downed before his last song without affecting his performance, the audience reaction is what a headliner would expect and this slot giving Ainsworth the exposure he so richly deserves. Although he is returning to Canada for the summer, when he returns he is sure to be a man in demand.
Jon Gomm starts his set with no fanfare opening with Cocoon, a beautiful piece about his new born child following this with an instrumental Topica, these allowing him to loosen up, his infamous cover of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody loosening up the crowd with a huge unprompted singalong.
The venue is hot and sweaty, very hot, and Mr. Gomm starts talking about the colour of his mum’s underwear and then launches into a series of songs including Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill. The crowd is in boisterous form but he explains that as he from Blackpool he can handler the hecklers and proceeds to entertain us by becoming a one–man, seven-piece reggae band; it could have been an eight-piece reggae band but “the reefer is technically not an instrument” he declares. This is all hugely entertaining.
Touching on politics (often dangerous ground for musicians), his “strong and stable guitar” comment gets a laugh from the crowd. The atheist in Gomm is brought out in Universal Biology with it’s eastern themes underpinning it. Those themes continue with Wukan Motorcycle Kid for which he demanded complete silence and rightly so.
The whole show is simply stunning and it is so easy to get lost in his music and his playing with Passionflower, possibly his best known piece, causing further damage to his guitar as he scratches it further. The t-shirts say “don’t let Jon Gomm play your guitar”, the evidence is clear and I wouldn’t have it any other way.