Live at Star Theater: Mr. Gnome

Mr. Gnome graced Portland’s Star Theater with their increasingly gnomey presence last night. The two-piece from Cincinnati has accrued a large cult following with their solid gold discography despite attention from the mainstream. Bringing along Seattle’s Eighteen Individual Eyes, and tapping the local Portland favorite And And And, the Mr. Gnome show culminated in high-energy rock n’ roll of the best kind; historically conscious virtuosic alternative.

On the lineup for several west coast shows with Mr. Gnome, Eighteen Individual Eyes opens the night. Performing songs from the album ‘Unnovae Nights’ which was released back in March, their sound captures the spirit of the night; dynamic and darkish. The rich passionate vocals of lead singer Irene Barber and mid-fi guitars recall the proggy post-emo style of Blonde Redhead or even their hosts Mr. Gnome. Certainly the project demonstrates vision and direction, and Killing Sasquatch will be keeping a close eye on the Seattle-based Eighteen Individual Eyes.

And And And follows with their distinctive mixture of freak folk, heavy metal, and indie ‘basement’ rock. Their alternative ethos precedes them, members active in the Portland show-going scene as well as the show-playing scene. Tender Loving Empire’s star-child And And And is a favorite here at Killing Sasquatch, where the cigarette-smoking falsetto vocals combine with quirky shredding guitars and drums to make the perfect music to get drunk to.

Lastly, as the crowd enters the inebriation green zone, Mr. Gnome approaches to perform a selection of their complex, dingy indie rock masterpieces, just the two of them. Using some looping, lead-gal Nicole Barille floats above the venue in a realm where early classic rock continued its psychadelic momentum straight (past the 80’s) into the rich post-modernism of the 90’s. Aloof but not obscure, fantastical but not frivolous, Mr. Gnome represents a special moment in indie rock history where heavy metal as solid as Black Sabbath itself could be effortlessly combined with contemporary indie pop/rock’s quirks and novelties.

Check out Mr. Gnome, as well as And And And and Eighteen Individual Eyes on your soundcamps and your bandclouds. Or Kazaa, or whatever y’all listen on nowadays.

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