Imagine you are a sweet, lovely young lady, and you are having a dinner party. You invite your good friends Björk, Feist, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. When dinnertime comes, instead of serving them food, you just eat the three of them. Then you immediately go and have insane, call-the-cops-to-the-hotel-style sex with both Cedric and Omar from The Mars Volta while listening to Sleater-Kinney albums. If you did all that, all those things… on a crisp autumn night… then you, my friend, would be “mr. Gnome.” Just an observation. More on that later.

If you haven’t been to a live show at Silverlake Lounge and you do not live in LA, mark it on your list of things to do next visit to the City of *cough cough hack hack* Angels. Excuse me. If you haven’t been to Silverlake Lounge and you do live in LA, then you suck, and this conversation is over. This cash-only bar in the heart of L.A.’s hipster mecca (at least it was when last I checked in 2007) is set up galley-style with the actual bar running the whole left-side of the joint. There is minimal seating along the opposite wall, and in-between is a gauntlet of semi-judgmental eyes faced towards the stage. And to the restrooms for that matter, which are behind the stage. Most nights, you have to step over the bass guitarist to get to the shitter. Just above the stage, in beautiful incandescent lettering, is the word, “Salvation.” A more appropriate word does not exist to describe Silverlake Lounge.

2009 November 24 @ Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles, CA

 

Diamonds Under Fire

The nine o’clock act this night was Diamonds Under Fire. She is a true one-woman-one-guitar, I-do-everything-myself musical entrepreneur. She sounds as if she is heavily influenced by P.J. Harvey as she pushes her voice in that direction. And of course, she accompanies herself with nothing but a dying Epiphone guitar, which makes this boy’s heart go a-poundin’. A few of the songs sounded like she was really trying hard to sing them, which is a shame, because I have a feeling if she just let herself sing, she has a beautiful voice. DUF’s last song blew me away a little bit. When it started, it sounded like a cover of an early ’90s post-punk popper that I just didn’t quite remember. Then it became this beautiful, melodic, encapsulating fem-anthem that I wish I was on her MySpace, so I could listen to it all day for a day.

 

mr. Gnome

Remember the ’60s? When all NASA’s badass astronauts came from Ohio? Well, now it appears that all badass musicians come from Ohio. Up step a hell of a pair of Midwesterners calling themselves mr. Gnome. Nicole Barille, this petite spacey girl with a dark curly ponytail sitting on the top of her head like a tarantula, is having a minor issue with one of her guitar pedals. She quickly rips out a distorted riff to test the equipment, and I nearly drop my Tecate. I lean over to my roommate and say, “Gee I hope she melts my face off.” Looks like I have to go in for facial reconstructive surgery next week.

The drummer’s name is Sam Meister. Meister is six-foot five at least, and has his drums turned to the side ala Franz Liszt, so we can see every orangutanian flail. If he has ever had any training on drums, he loses it in the passion and joy of actually playing drums. I can’t think of a time when I saw a more experimental artist pounding stick on stretched plastic, who still keeps himself impeccably tuned-in to the beat and the band.

mr. Gnome speed up, they slow down. They get loud as fuck. They get soft as kittens in a Downey commercial. And they do it together. My guess is they practice a lot. Barille innocently and expertly uses a loop machine to enhance a few songs, as well as two different microphones for shits and giggles. She has an array of pedals in front of her that would make a NASCAR driver ejaculate, and she has the uncanny ability to manipulate these pedals constantly while playing and singing, making her effective at rythym guitar, lead guitar, and singing at the same time. All the while, the drummer grows a third arm to hit parts of drums I didn’t know existed. Basically, what I am saying here is that this two-piece band sounds more like an orchestra for a Tim Burton film. Sorry Danny Elfman; you’re fired. It’s the Gnome’s turn. This experience is certainly lost on all those at-home album listeners. Listening the day after, I found myself impressed, but not ecstatic. All the things I said in paragraph one definitely apply, and I highly recommend this live show to anyone with a blackened lung and a heart of gold.

I must give my sincerest apologies to Elle Macho, the final act of the night. My roommate and I were too gnome-struck to continue the evening. “I swear I’ll eat you laterrrr.”

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