THE number of legendary North West indie bands to have played Kendal Calling grows by the year and Southport stalwarts Gomez are set to become the latest icons to add their name to the list, writes KARL STEEL.

Respected and revered in equal measure, they will be many festival-goers’ ones to watch when they arrive at Cumbria’s premier music festival for an opening night performance on Thursday, July 25.

More than two decades after achieving international stardom and picking up the Mercury Music Prize, the five-piece stop off at Lowther Deer Park in the midst of their 20th anniversary tour for their stunning second album, Liquid Skin.

Bassist Paul Blackburn is delighted to finally bring the record to one of his favourite parts of the country. He says: “I haven’t made it to the festival before - the line-up certainly looks good, so we’ll all be looking forward to a day of watching bands and being surrounded by beautiful countryside.

“Having grown up just down the road in Southport, I’m very familiar with the Lake District. I’ve spent many holidays here as a child as well as numerous more recent visits. As we travel a great deal, we meet many people who ask about the UK and I always mention the Lakes as being one of the most scenic and beautiful areas of the country.

“We’ll be sticking around for the day and joining the punters to check out some of the other bands. We’ll then be heading off for the next show as we are in the middle of our Liquid Skin tour.”

Gomez - completed by vocalist and guitarist pair Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball, keyboardist and guitarist Tom Gray, and drummer and synth player Olly Peacock - arrived at the tail-end of the Britpop era, and immediately made a huge impression. Debut album Bring It On, containing smash hit Whippin’ Piccadilly, earned them their 1998 Mercury Prize success and a Brit Award nomination among countless other accolades and the 1999 follow-up, Liquid Skin, spawned their highest-charting singles Rhythm & Blues Alibi and - somewhat confusingly - Bring It On.

Paul continues: “We toured for the 20th Anniversary of Bring It On last year and the idea of touring this record seemed to build from that. The idea started from a friend in Australia and then fan comments suggested they’d like us to do this.

“It seems to make sense as a snapshot in time as the first two records really are a shared body of work. We’re on tour for that record but we’ll be including tracks from other albums for the festival.”

While Paul reveals that discussions around working on new material are at an early stage, long-time Gomez followers can look forward to a set full of fan favourites as they play the Main Stage at Kendal Calling, ahead of Thursday night headliners Orbital.

On record, the band has always been seen as being willing to experiment, occasionally dabbling in post-rock, electronica, blues and country, but over the years they’ve refined a more ‘festival friendly’ live performance.

“Whenever we play gigs, be it festivals or our own shows, we’re always looking to create a sense of a shared experience,” says Paul.

“There are obviously different approaches for presenting yourself as a band to an audience, all of which have their own merits. Our approach is to try and break down the sense of us and them and generate a vibe of ‘here we all are, let’s have fun and try to create memorable moment together’.

“We’re quite eclectic in terms of genre and having a longer set time allows us to create something that represents this more effectively. This said, the focus is always based around having a good time with the audience.

“We’ve refined our approach to festival sets over the years to make them more immediate and hopefully appeal to the broader festival audience, even if it’s just for that moment in time. Of course, it’s always nice to bring new friends to the table.”

Gomez appear on the Main Stage at Kendal Calling 2019, on Thursday, July 25. Thursday tickets are only available in conjunction with a weekend ticket, via