Mr. Gnome performed a strong nooner, kicking off the Terrorbird showcase Wednesday, March 14 at Red 7. Photo: Angela H. Brown
So, it turns out Nicole Barille of the Cleveland-based duo, Mr. Gnome, is super fucking nice. I know this 'cause before she and drummer Sam Meister played to a packed house at the … interesting … Treasure Island bar on Friday night, she listened attentively as I slurred through a recap of The Coathangers show I'd seen earlier that day. This chick has pipes that trump anything that comes out of Karen O's mouth, and she was hanging out with the fangirl that I turn into whenever I meet a musician I adore (she said it's totally cool if I stalk them, though) before her set.
Don't worry—the fact that she's a rad person isn't going to sway my review of their music, 'cause there was nothing negative to say about it in the first place! Their show at Treasure Island was actually the second Mr. Gnome show I had seen this week at SXSW. The first was at the Terrorbird day party on Wednesday, which was super rad 'cause I got to be front and center, but they started off the show at noon while people were still slowly being let into the doors. Plus, there's just a special kind of magic in the air at night that makes shows better, don't you think?
I'm always in complete awe of how much sound comes out of this duo. It's all thanks to the crazy pedal work Barille does while singing and wailing on her guitar, looping both vocals and chords to create this crazy layered sound while Meister pounds on that bass drum in his bare feet like an animal.
I was joined by Terrorbird's own George Corona III (he's the one to blame for my Mr. Gnome obsession) at both shows, actually, and he brought up how awesome it is that their songs all come in two or three parts. Their music is definitely schizophrenic in that way: It starts one way, then completely switches directions, so it's like getting two songs in one. It's just so fucking great. And that's without taking into account all of the visual creativity this band puts into their releases, both in terms of vinyl art and music videos. They've got a preview of their next video up right now that's gonna blow your minds, and it's just a preview! Check it out here.
Mr. Gnome is playing in Salt Lake on April 3. See you all there!