By Adam Strunk, Newton Now
Face-melting guitar riffs and an amazing show.
That’s what Anthony Gomes, headliner of Saturday’s Blues Brews and Barbecue, and Billboard’s No. 1 Blues artist of 2018 thinks Newton residents should expect as they show up to the concert.
“We’re somewhere between AC/DC and BB King,” he said. “People who like blues like what we do, and people who like classic rock like our show. We like to make it a spectacular, sort of a fist pumping good time of blues rock and roll with an odd slow song so you can can slow dance with your future ex wife.”
Gomes, along with being one of the top guitarists in the industry, is a showman and entertainer. Gomes has been performing for 20 years, after he got a big break when the bus driver of blues artist BB King heard him play and introduced him to the legend.
“I met BB King,” he said. “I moved to Chicago, and we won a contest by Buddy Guy for best unknown band.”
A Canadian by birth, he said he grew up listening to the likes of BB King but also bands like the Rolling Stones, which influenced his sound.
“I love the rock and roll, the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple. They all reference the blues. The winters are cold in Canada. Everyone’s got the blues and feels it. It started in Mississippi but belongs to the world.”
Gomes melds the two worlds with his sound and said now he’s reached the point in his career where he has the ability and experience to play his best music.
“I feel now more energized and excited than I ever had been,” he said. “It’s searching for that lost chord man. Musicians don’t retire they stop playing when the music is gone. I feel like there’s a lot of music left.”
His most recent album Peace Love and Loud Guitars was named album of the year by Blues Rock Review and reached No. 6 on the Billboard Charts.
LA Weekly in a recent article described Gomes as such: “Bluesman Anthony Gomes describes himself as the classic triple threat — guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. And it’s tough to put together a convincing argument against that.”
Gomes uses a strong emotive voice to highlight his relatable and occasionally irreverent lyrics. He sprinkles in shredding guitar riffs for good measure to remind audience members that they’re listening to the full package.
When putting his songs together, Gomes said he shoots for telling experiences that have a small grain of reliability. He doesn’t expect anyone to do half the things he talks about in the raucous “Whiskey Made Me Do It” off of his recent album. Still he thinks it’s a song that resonates with crowds.
“The best lie is when you tell a little bit of the truth,” he said. “Some of these songs are a bit embellished. Everyone’s had a night you did some crazy stuff. If you sing a song about quantum physics, most people won’t get it. It has to be something you understand and experience.”
Gomes said he’s played in Kansas, recently in Topeka this summer and he looks forward to getting back to perform in the state.
“We love Kansas,” he said. “They’re great people. Music loving people and salt of the earth. Their honest good people and we’re playing that kind of music.”
Anthony Gomes will take the state around 7 p.m. at Athletic Park Saturday Sept. 28, for Blues Brews and Barbecue put on by Newton Now.
Opening the show will be Wichita Band MAHAN, followed by Piper Leigh and The Smokin’ Section.
Craft brews including an exclusive “Off the Record” Dunkel will be available at the event as well as local barbecue vendors and food trucks.
Tickets can be purchased online at Harveycountynow.com/bbb
Tickets can be purchased at the Newton Now Office or at 706 Main Street or at a booth at the Chili Cook-Off on Saturday located at the beer garden for the event. Tickets before the event are $17. Tickets at the gate will be $25.