google5fdb2843fc4f1b5b.html Rock Chic: Jon Gomm - The Lantern Bristol, 18/10/15

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Jon Gomm - The Lantern Bristol, 18/10/15

Have you ever been to a gig where the artist untunes his guitar to start playing? That’s what you get with acoustic virtuoso Jon Gomm and unique is the meekest of descriptions for hisshow at The Lantern. 

Understated as always Jon meanders on stage, tunes up (or the opposite), coughs, takes a sip of water and starts playing. Thisnon-commentary continues for the first three songs, like a quirky mime sketch, until the audiences loud cheers bring out his voice. Turns out, he’s really chatty. Telling stories in his eccentric Brit way was second nature, but you actually wanted to hear what he had to say as these stories were the heart of his songs. 

Wukan Motorcycle Kid’ is about a boy he learned about on a late night news report on TV during thWukan Uprising of 2011. The sound bridges the gap between West and East by adding a touch of traditional mysticism. Then there’s ‘The Weather Machine’; an angry metaphor about Western anti-terror propaganda that emulates it’s meaning. Starting with a furious burst of string shredding complete with a Middle-Eastern twist, Gomm uses his guitar to create drum sounds, bass lines and melodies simultaneously. He bashes and thumps the body, while he plucks, strums and bends the strings in a frenzy of sincere intensity. 

How can one human do this? In his words, it’s like a painter using a blank canvas. To play a tuned guitar would be like having half of the piece completed for you. It’s his thoughts and vivid imagination that lead to the process of compromise and hard work. This is beyond just good guitar work, this is a reinvention. 

Always sublime and a touch of ridiculoushe says a day of watching sea life documentaries resulted in his notion of us all being ‘Deep Sea Fishes’, and what he says his most popular youtube hit, ‘Passionflower’, is about a plant. The darker ‘Telepathy’, was written about his bi-polar battle.

He also included his ‘emergency disco song’, a crowd-pleaser for difficult gigs in the early days, a rendition of Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’. 

Slipping into ‘Everything’ which he explained is 10 minutes long but will ‘fly by’, he promised and finishing off with ‘Gloria’, Gomm jumps from the stage to stand barefoot in front of the crowd to tell his story of his past forbidden love between chav and mosher, as he puts it, having the crowd laughing and in tears. This is obviously a tonic for Jon, as hehumbly says he felt ‘a bit shitty’ when he started but now feels much better.

This blitz of organised chaos felt like 5 minutes rather than 90, and is the perfect example of how an artist can harness their difficult past and use it to grow in strength and character.  

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