Gomez is taking a break from Latin Pimps (2005 Dallas Observer Music Awards winner for Best Latin/Tejano) to tour the United States in support of his July 12 solo release, Etherville. Forgoing a bassist and keyboards, Gomez's road band includes world music composer Olivier Glissant on accordion and jazz drummer Max Oepen. The smaller touring lineup means a simpler guitar-based sound, and the scaled-down band gives his songs more room to breathe. Glissant squeezed mournful melodies and chugging chords out of his squeezebox, and his playing was a fitting complement to Gomez's chiming Telecaster and acoustic guitar work. Sparse arrangements suited lyrics like "If I could have you back, I'd only break you" and his telling a lover she is "so perfect, perfect without me." The dark, jazz-influenced sound was a welcome break from typical one-man, one-guitar singer-songwriter performances.
Joining Gomez on the cross-country tour are two of those typical singer-songwriters--McGowan (just McGowan; who needs first names?) and Zack Hexum (brother of 311 lead singer Nick). Dallas' Kristy Kruger opened with acoustic tunes that sounded fresh from a songwriting workshop, and McGowan's clever chord changes and pleasant melodies almost made up for his songs' lack of lyrical substance. Worst of all was Hexum, who lamented a long-distance romance between cheesy John Mayer-esque come-ons and an unnecessary cover of Radiohead's "Karma Police. "