Aquarius Records is one of the coolest music stores in San Francisco,
but a contribution to local culture doesn't help when the taxman comes
calling to collect back taxes run up when the store was under
different management. So Aquarius put on a benefit concert on
Saturday, June 10, at the San Francisco club Bottom of the Hill, with
help from Bay Area musician friends, including Barbara Manning,
American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel and the psychedelic band
Fifty Foot Hose (which hadn't performed in 26 years).
Eleven acts played a few songs each, and styles ranged from
angst-ridden alternative folk (Mark Eitzel) to Latin rhythms (El
Camino). Both of those acts captivated the audience, and Barbara
Manning was even spotted dancing enthusiastically to the latter. Other
highlights included the duo Virginia Dare, which played a too-short
set of catchy songs in a lo-fi style, and Franklin Bruno, who
delivered an affecting set of angular power-pop.
Best of all was Fifty Foot Hose, which closed the concert with a set
of improvisational psychedelic noise. Though the band used odd
instrumentation-including a tuba that barely fit on the Bottom of the
Hill stage, its sound recalled noise-rock pioneers Captain Beefheart
and the Magic Band, more than Grateful Dead inspired psychedelic
balladeers like Phish.