The Aquarius Records benefit on Saturday in San Francisco was great. A diverse set of acts, very well organized, good vibes, etc. The Hammers of Eternity played a < 1/2-hour set in the early evening, featuring four members of Bungle: Trey on guitar and Yamaha keyboard and directing, Heifetz on drums and some array of things that made a bunch of cool noises (maybe effects pedals & keyboard?), Bar on Sax, and Trevor on upright bass & a smidgen of voice.
Set started out with several minutes of "false starts," Danny counting off with his sticks as if starting a hardcore number, Trey aggressively grabbing the microphone on its stand as if he were about to scream Patton-style, but then everything peters out. It was very unsatisfying and brilliant.
Meanwhile lots of grating noises coming from Trevor's bass and Danny's "rig." The sounds were too harsh on my ears. Danny's set-up was pretty much making noise continously throughout the set - a lot of these sounds I thought were too *quiet*, but useful in building different layers of perception.
Most of the set was driven by caca-phonic noise and conceptual performance art and deconstructive jazz. In fact, with the exception of a few minutes of jazzy Trevor/Danny/Bar breakdown, an untrained observer probably couldn't tell these guys knew how to play instruments! By the way, Trevor wore a full-on suit looking as if he'd just driven over from an upscale lounge gig. The end of the set started with him neurotically packing his bass in its bag and scurrying off the stage and out the front door of the club. The others took turns leaving the stage in equally bizarre fashion.
My favorite part was when Trey got Trevor to walk over to his keyboard, showed him a beer glass and they discussed it (with no sound), drew diagrams for each other, scratched heads, rubbed chins, and Trevor walked off with the glass and the plans. My other fave part was when Trey was like mime-shouting out all these orders at the band, appeared frustrated, and threw a bag of Doritos at Danny, who proceeded to grab a huge handful of chips, stuff his face, and play with Doritos flying all over the place.
Trey introduced one tune by mumbling something like "Mike Patton wrote this... that's why he's in hiding..." but I could be mistaken.
So overall an endearing if not excellent set. It was the best 25 minutes of performance for my buck. Ironically, Myles Boisen of the Splatter Trio played in the following ensemble and did a set of more or less "tasty jazz," a digression from Splatter's usually deconstructed performances.
Thanks to Jai Young Kim.