Live Review – Jon Gomm

Oran Mor, 05/05

A trip to Oran Mor turned out to be a venture into the mind of a visionary musician and songwriter. The imagination of Jon Gomm is a place of heightened emotion – ‘Everything’ prompted every single member of the audience to fall into reverential silence, mesmerised by the man on the stage baring his soul with such power and authenticity, while his eulogising of the love shared by ‘hideous sea creatures’ (the concept behind ‘Deep Sea Fishes’) and ranting over politics evoked laughter and cheering.

Gomm’s technical ability, meanwhile, is truly remarkable. He himself once said that “there’s nothing new to percussive guitar playing at all”, but the self-effacing brilliance with which he creates a uniquely rich and layered texture of sounds is breath-taking. Halfway through the evening, he ran what he described as a ‘how to be a reggae band on one guitar’ lesson, allowing him to demonstrate how much of his music is performed on a technical level and chat to his fans.

In fact, one of the most impressive things about Jon Gomm is the way in which you feel you know more about him by the end of the night than you may know about your closest friends. There is such an intimate connection between the stories he tells and the music he plays that, when listening to him play ‘Wukan Motorcycle Kid’ – inspired by a news clip he had seen about a child in a rural Chinese village defying government authorities – you can feel how much he cares about the subject. Moreover, his music imparts this same feeling of love and sadness upon the audience; such emotive powers are incredibly rare and provide an experience to treasure.

Unsurprisingly, Gomm ended his set with a rendition of his YouTube hit ‘Passionflower’; this was met by a standing ovation.

[Tim Abrams]

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