Gomez Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON May 29

Gomez Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON May 29
Eschewing genre allegiance in favour of a genus-traipsing sound, Brippie Mercury Prize survivors Gomez uniquely transpose folk, Britpop, roots-rock, jazz, and hints of shoegaze onto a jam band template. Given that vast range of record store categories, Friday night's Phoenix set could have been a messy mishmash, though savvy song selection seamlessly brought together disparate influences to create a rousing sonic stew.

Playfully extending and tweaking old favourites, Gomez's jam band leanings manifested themselves throughout. Live mainstay "Get Myself Arrested" brought its jazz-indebted rhythm section to the fore, giving its titular chorus a flirtatious bent. Similarly modified, closer "How We Operate" outlasted its on-disc counterpart, swelling into a massive dénouement. A deftly compiled bait-and-switch set-list continuously increased tension, but offered enough catharsis to avoid audience combustion. By saving a drum machine-laden "Win Park Slop" with a last ditch guitar line, the band emphasized the importance of its six-strings. Though follow-up "Bone Tired" dropped the instrument entirely, creating a gorgeous grower, via laptop tinkering. The outfit's impressive breadth didn't stop there.

Dashes of country and a hint of Van Morrison swirled together on "Rhythm and Blues Alibi" and "See the World" jaunted along at an appositely increasing clip, nodding to Deliverance in the process. Current single, "Airstream Driver," fostered a mid-gig dance party while "Tijuana Lady," turned an acoustic guitar ballad into a visceral affair replete with desperate vocals and an explosive climax. Brandishing a palpable talent for pastiche and dolling out classics and new entries judiciously, Gomez played a diverse, headlock-tight set that seldom dragged and frequently soared.