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GARBOSKI, MR. GNOME, THE GENTLEMEN OF MONSTER ISLAND

PLUSH

Friday, Nov. 27

Friday night's show at Plush was all about the facial hair: Opening band the Gentlemen of Monster Island's lead singer, Connor Woods, has quite the beard, as does drummer Jericho Davidson, and, of course, there's bassist Justin Lillie's muttonchops.

Ohio's Mr. Gnome, who played second, has singer and guitarist Nicole Barille, whose curls drape over her face while she performs. And then there were Garboski drummer Josh Skibar and singer Beau Bowen, both with varying lengths of head-encircling hair. All of this fuzz must mean one thing: wild and crazy rock 'n' roll.

The first to deliver on the promise of hairy rock were the Gentlemen of Monster Island. When I walked in, a few songs into their set, Woods was hanging from a rafter, and soon after, he lost his shirt. Woods screamed and thrashed while the rest of his band—Davidson and Lillie from Chango Malo, and Corey Reidy, formerly of Good Talk Russ—made a whole lot of rock with a whole lot of energy. It was reminiscent of the Stooges—there was skinny, shirtless Woods à la Iggy Pop, twisting and turning like a madman, while the rest of the band members kept things tight and raw—except heavier.

Cleveland's Mr. Gnome played next, and what they lack in numbers—it's just guitarist Barille and drummer Sam Meister—they more than make up for in intensity. Many of the songs on Mr. Gnome's new album, Heave Yer Skeleton, involve layered guitar parts that Barille built onstage with an impressive lineup of pedals and effects. Instead of hanging from rafters, Barille had a civilized stepladder that she used to get a higher perspective on Meister's drum kit; nonetheless, Mr. Gnome's live show made you feel like you were hanging from the ceiling.

There was no rafter-hanging or stepladder-climbing during Garboski's set: They ended the evening with unadulterated grunge, pure and simple, as they were cheered on by their adoring fans. Bassist Garth Bryson, the least-hairy member of the band, made up for his lack of locks with locked-in rhythms, and the band played an extra song at the insistence of their friends.

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