Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball from Gomez

Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball of Gomez have united for a run of duo performances across Australia, stopping into Cairns on June 11th to play an intimate show at Tanks Arts Centre.

The show will see the two friends and bandmates performing an ‘eclectic array’ of songs from their 20+ year careers, from Gomez hits to solo works and even some unreleased gems. No strangers to big crowds (here’s their 1999 Glastonbury set), the night is a great chance to catch a world class performance from two accomplished musicians and UK indie-rock darlings. Oh, and they won a little award called the Mercury Prize once.

NQ Music Press had a chance to quiz Ben and Ian ahead of Saturday’s show, where on display was their trademark wit and northern charm.

NQMP: Obligatory Covid question, how’d you get by?

Ben: OK. Despite the obvious sense of panic and dread it was actually really cool to spend so much time with my family. I was touring pretty much none stop with Gomez or solo before lockdown so it was nice to take a breath.

My daughter Alice and I occupied ourselves by posting a song a day on Instagram, I’d play, she’d dance. We got to 50 days in a row. A bunch of folk down here are pretty disappointed that I brought Ian and not Alice.

Home schooling sucked though. I have a deep renewed respect for teachers and all they do. 

NQMP: You’re getting back out in a big way with this tour, part of the early wave of international tours to begin coming through post-lockdowns. Was this something that had been on the cards for awhile or were you both itching to get out and hit the road after the last funny few years?

Ben: Yeah we were initially booked for June/July 2020, playing Splendour but obviously that didn’t work out. As for itching to get out I really didn’t realise how fundamental this was for me until it was taken away. So it’s really great to be back, particularly down here where touring has always been such a joy. 

NQMP: You’ve both had successful solo careers for the last decade. Are these works totally separate from one another or will you still consult and share what you’re working on between yourselves?

Ian: We were inspired by the four solo KISS albums of 1978. Unfortunately the other guys missed the memo. 

NQMP: The band is originally from Sheffield. Is there any other tea apart from Yorkshire Tea for you? When on tour, do you have people who hook you up with bags of Yorkshire tea leaves?

Ian: Actually coffee. The American tea. Never really could be bothered with a suitcase of baked beans. 

NQMP: Totally by coincidence, I was watching a film with the other night- a 90’s number called Best Laid Plans with Reece Witherspoon and a young Josh Brolin- and Gomez’s Tijuana Lady came on (what a track hey?). Have you seen the film?

Ian: No. Last film I saw that should have had a Gomez song in it was Basic Instinct 2.

NQMP: So it’s just the two of you on stage for this tour; Gomez are a five-piece and nobody would accuse the band of having a sparse sound exactly. Is there a desire for the two of you to try and fill up the same sonic space and do you have some tricks to do that? Or has your approach to performing live changed and evolved to suit a two-piece? What can the audience expect from the show? 

Ian: It’s a combo of the pet shop boys and Alice In Chains unplugged. 

NQMP: Will you have some time to get out and explore Cairns a bit? This time of year is where it’s at and the seas are pretty flat for a reef trip…

Ian: Gah I wish. I think we’ll be in Cairns for a total of 4 hours. We managed to squeeze the show in between two Sydney shows cos we love it up at Tanks. 


DOORS 6:30 | SHOW 7:30

TICKETS: https://www.ticketlink.com.au/ticketlinkEvents/popular-music/ben-ottewell-and-ian-ball-from-gomez