England isn't really known as jam-band mecca. Hippie idealism and hackysacking is more of an American thing. But Gomez's reformed Britpoppers have been changing that. First, the quintet signed with Dave Matthews' ATO label, home to such hirsute and shower-averse bands as My Morning Jacket and Gov't Mule. Then it released How We Operate, its most organic-sounding album. And now the group is playing shows with the jam-band heroes of Moe. "I don't think there's any danger of us becoming one of them," laughs Gomez singer and guitarist Tom Gray. "But we've never been part of one scene, place, or time."
Critics, especially those overseas, have fawned over Gomez since its 1998 debut. Its first album, Bring It On, snagged the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. But it's been a tougher sell to people who don't listen to CDs for a living, Gray admits. "There's a perception problem with us: Are we a jam band, an indie band, a rock-and-roll band?" he says. "We just focused on making a record that was really clear to people this time."
Sat., July 1, 4:30 p.m.