Rock from the heart of it all

Motel Beds, mr. Gnome at Bob’s

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Nicole Barille and Sam Meister of mr. Gnome, who will play Nov. 28 at Blind Bob’s

It’s not often that one looks at a rock show in Dayton and its lineup, and then considers it a can’t-miss affair—a “megashow,” if you will. However, that’s exactly what’s on tap this coming weekend at Blind Bob’s as two of the busiest, most successful and nationally known indie rock bands from the Buckeye State join together like Voltron for a must-see pairing on a Gem City stage. And even if you don’t know who these bands are yet, you’ll have to take this writer’s word that you have to be there.

First, there’s mr. Gnome. Hailing from Cleveland, this duo consisting of Nicole Barille (guitar, vocals) and Sam Meister (drums) has been criss-crossing the country seemingly nonstop for the past few years, exposing audiences to their art-damaged brand of White Stripes-informed (but way better) rock, including a handful of appearances here in the Gem City where their high energy live show earns them more fans each time they roll through town.

“Music is our only gig, which is why we live on the road half of the year!” Barille explains. “We’ve recorded two of our albums at Josh Homme’s [of Queens of the Stone Age] studio out in Los Angeles, had the privilege of playing with some of favorite bands, including Built to Spill—we’ve met amazing people throughout this wonderful country who have given us endless support and we get to travel and see some of the most beautiful parts of the United States again and again.”

For the past year, the band has been touring in support of its 2014 full-length album The Heart of a Dark Star. The album is a satisfyingly mixed bag of arty rock dervishes, slashing guitar chords, twisted sing-along choruses, distorted vocals and galloping drums that lend the music a cerebral yet wholly fun vibe. However, the live setting is where mr. Gnome truly shines. On stage, the duo presents a fierce, manic energy that often borders on spinning out of control but somehow never does.

“Our live show is pretty punk rock—raw, loud, adrenaline-filled,” Barille opines. “We’ve seen people dance, mosh, cry, scream, sing along, blackout, trip their brains out—it’s awesome to see people lose themselves during our live performances. If we can take you to another world or just let you disconnect from reality for a moment, we’ve done our job! There’s an energy given out during the live shows that can’t necessarily get picked up on a record, and that is what sets a show apart from everything else.”

This Saturday, mr. Gnome will share the stage with the Gem City’s own celebrated indie rock heavyweights, The Motel Beds. mr. Gnome themselves are big fans of the Beds and are looking forward to rockin’ the Blind Bob’s stage with our hometown heroes.

“We love The Motel Beds!” exclaims Barille. “Wonderful band…we’ve played with them before and they are so very awesome—extremely excited to share the stage with them again.”

Speaking of The Motel Beds, the Dayton-based quintet has plenty of national accolades and accomplishments of their own. The band has been a part of both the Nelsonville and SXSW music festivals as well as being featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered and many long weekends of touring, proving to music listeners all over the USA what us Daytonians have known all along. The Beds also have developed quite a reputation for their sweaty and fun live shows where both minds as well as guitar strings get bent on the regular.

“Our live show definitely varies from our records,” says Motel Beds’ guitarist Tommy Cooper. “It’s definitely a bit more raw and loud than what you might expect if you’ve only heard the records.”

Speaking of records, The Motel Beds have a brand spankin’ new full-length album entitled Mind Glitter that was released just last month by Columbus label Anyways Records. Their newest opus is perhaps the most straightforward Beds disc yet with very little in the way of the distortion and production gimmicks that were a trait of past endeavors. The Beds have taken their myriad influences that range from The Beach Boys to Cheap Trick to Swervedriver and have created a batch of songs that simply sounds like The Motel Beds without overtly wearing their influences on their collective sleeve. While some songs lilt and flow with vocal harmonies and others rock and roll with plucky guitar hooks, The Beds have created an album that should please newfound fans as well as Daytonians who’ve been supporting the band since the beginning.

“This record probably has more variety on it compared to our last few releases but it’s still definitely a Motel Beds record,” Cooper explains. “Lots of melodies, hooks and little pop songs but [we] just tried to find some different ways to present those this time.”

As for sharing the stage with fellow Ohio indie rock darling like mr. Gnome, Cooper is looking forward to playing with them again for what should be an even larger than usual crowd of people ready to rock.

“We’ve played with them in town before and had great shows,” Cooper says. “We’ll be playing first and are looking forward to kicking the night off. Every time mr. Gnome comes to town the turnout is great and our friends Moira will be playing as well who are on a tear lately. I think the variety in the musical stylings that night will make for a good night of music”.

mr. Gnome and Motel Beds will perform Saturday, Nov. 28 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in downtown Dayton. Moira is also on the bill. Admission is $10 for patrons 21 and over. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information please visit, or


Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at


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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at

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