Friday, May 8, 2015

Snmnmnm -- The Hi-Pointe March 5, 2005

Chapel Hill, N.C.’s Snmnmnm aren't your typical rock band. You can easily jump to that conclusion just by talking to them—and it doesn't hurt knowing that collectively they play an amplified tuba with numerous effect pedals, trumpet, trombone, and a shiny red accordion on top of two guitars. They also resemble They Might Be Giants very closely; something the band admits while saying their music has elements that make them “stylistically unique.” Add it all up and it’s pretty clear that a set of dork rock was about to commence.

Playing in between the somber, Radiohead-esque sandwich of Ghost in Light and Berry, the men from Snm took to the stage free of seven days worth of smoky clubs and other road filth. Earlier that day the band had “splurged” on a hotel room. “We took showers!” is how vocalist Seamus Kenney gleefully explained it.

The band’s first few tunes were greeted with polite applause from the bar-stools and couches near the rear of the room. However, when the two guitarists dropped their five-stringers in favor of a trombone and trumpet, the tide quickly turned and humanity spewed forth towards the stage. Playing an extended version of “Spanish Cucumber,” vocalist Kenney urged more people to come forward for some crowd participation. After laying out instructions for the crowd to yell “Spanish cucumber!” following his prompt of “I lost my favorite,” the remainder of that song proved to be the set’s high point (no pun intended). The fun didn't end there, however, as a bemused Kenney announced that they didn't make a set list for the show “because we’re lazy.” A fan quickly filled the void, yelling for the first song on the first side of their first album, 2003’s Power Pack Horse Crunch. The song was called “Number 10,” and had Kenney breaking out the accordion. It was easily the catchiest song in the band’s set.

It’s always a pleasant sight to witness a band gradually drawing a mass of people up front. That wasn't exactly the case this evening, as the turnout was rather low, but when you put things into proportion, calculate the ratios, carry the ones, and convert the number from hexadecimal to binary, you've got a frigging stampede of humanity lining the stage. That in itself proved that Snm had the appreciation of those who were in attendance. They just didn't have enough bodies in the room.

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