My first brush with mr. Gnome was their brand new (terrifying) video for “Vampires.” Drug-addled, costumed adults perform on the set of a children’s show as mr. Gnome plays from the corner. Before long, the bunny rabbit is eating someone, a bloodbath ensues and ends with gunfire. You don’t get to see much of (mr. Gnome bandmates) Nicole Barille and Sam Meister, but you are struck by their dark sense of humor and individualistic approach to music-making. Needless to say, I was excited to see them perform live at Silverlake Lounge and they didn’t disappoint.

mr. Gnome

The show started with Nicole and Sam frantically setting up the stage by laying down throw rugs and setting up their instruments. A woman approached me and asked if I was a mr. Gnome fan. I told her that I’d only just recently heard of them but was looking forward to seeing them play. She proudly said, “That’s my nephew right there and they’re great! They’re from Cleveland, Ohio!” I took her immense pride as a great sign. After a quick guitar tune and mic checks, the show began.

mr. Gnome

Due to their highly cinematic music videos and offbeat music, I was expecting a theatrical show full of antics and costumes. In reality, mr. Gnome are much more down to earth. They came dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Apart from providing their own throw rugs, there was no adornment on stage. Instead the show relied solely on their music, and as it turns out, they don’t need anything else.

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome’s fans will know that their sound can go from contemplative and moody to in-your-face punk music within the space of a minute. Nicole’s clear, beautiful voice rings out like a bell against the rapid pace of her steady guitar-playing. Sam plays the drums like a man possessed. It was difficult to even get a clear picture of him because he is always fully in motion. The crowd paid rapt attention and cheered raucously between songs. There were several times through the show that I caught myself dancing without even realizing I was doing it.

mr. Gnome

My final verdict is that Sam’s aunt has a reason to be proud. This duo from Cleveland, OH is the real deal. They are one of those unique bands that manages to sound even better live than their own studio recordings (which are great). They also suck you into their set from the beginning to the end you don’t ever want to happen. Never a dull moment, I am officially a fan and will definitely be seeing them again. If mr. Gnome is coming to a city near you, do yourself a favor and go!

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

mr. Gnome

For more information on mr. Gnome as well as upcoming tour dates, please visit:

mr. Gnome’s Official Website
mr. Gnome on Myspace
mr. Gnome on Facebook