It's been said that noise for noise's sake can be a heroic gesture and, in the case of Elliott Sharp and Jim Sivard, that certainly was intended.
Eschewing niceties like song structure and melody, their set at the 18th Street Studio was mainly an exploration of rhythmic possibilities. The show began with a long guitar-soprano sax duet. Sivard provided bluesy, floozy, sensual fill, while Sharp sent out wave after wave of overdriven, distortion-laden guitar. Most of this piece's shape was dictated by the guitar--sharp turns and abrupt changes in texture.
Elliott had a decidedly unorthodox approach to guitarmanship, whacking at it bongo-style, scraping it with a pick, producing a sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Then came a series of solos. The first two were performed by Sivard on clarinet and sax, respectively. The clarinet piece was primarily an exploration of variations on embouchure. Sivard created eerie, aboriginal sounds, either overloading the mike or simply overblowing (playing too loudly with loosened lips). Switching to soprano sax, he executed a series of Philip Glass-style curlicues. When Sharp returned to the stage he clawed at his guitar or tootled madly on sax using both his leg and the floor as a mute.
Sivard and Sharp reunited for a sax duet that sounded rather like two ostriches preparing for a high velocity tryst.