Sunday, November 4, 2012

mr. Gnome, Finn Riggins and the Gunfighters @ the Red Room (11/1/12)

This show marked the return to Boise of the Cleveland rock duo mr. Gnome.  I'd caught their Treefort set, and they hadn't sounded like any other band I'd heard before.  So I was interested to find out how they would strike me on a second go-round.

There were over seventy people at the Red Room when I arrived.  Another fifty or so would show up by the time that mr. Gnome played.  Pretty fantastic for a Thursday night.  Guess I wasn't the only one who'd been impressed at Treefort.

The Gunfighters opened the night.  I'm not exactly sure why their music sounded quirkier here than it did at any other time that I've seen them.  Their costumes can't account for it, I think (though their lead singer's black mask and makeup were kinda bizarre).  The new horn parts could partially.  Whatever the reasons, I didn't consider the slight uptick in weirdness a bad thing.  On the contrary, it just gave the music more character.  Of course, it helped that their guitars sounded as sharp and Katie Vant's harmonies as sweet as ever.  Now, if someone could tell me what was up with the guy off to the side painting a picture...

After the Gunfighters came Finn Riggins, who may have taken their supporting slot as a dare to really kick out the jams.  Lisa Simpson in particular whipped up one helluva racket on her guitar, carving out some terse solos and cranking out the distortion as if she were planning to audition for Sonic Youth.  Meanwhile, Eric Gilbert made his keyboards clang and wail, and I could feel Cameron Bouiss's drums trying to punch a hole through the back of my skull.  For all of the noise, however, they sounded as charming and melodious as usual.

Speaking of charming...

This just made me smile.

mr. Gnome's headlining set reinforced my good impression of them and then some.  They remain the only band I can think of who can evoke Valhalla and Sesame Street in the same song and sometimes in the same measure.  Nicole Barille cooed, sighed and yelped while her guitar tinkled one moment and went nuclear the next.  Sam Meister's drums stomped, bounced, skipped and pulverized.  "We really do love this town," Barille said before their encore, "so thank you guys for treating us so well."  The crowd earned the compliment: they swayed, threw up the horns and headbanged throughout much of the set.

You can look up info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Duck Club Presents.

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