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Iconoclastic NYC guitarist/bassist/saxophonist Elliott Sharp made his first performing visit to San Diego on June 7, when outward-leaning promoter Bonnie Wright snagged him on his way to gigs in LA and San Francisco for an "invitation only" show at her Mission Hills abode.

Performing on a custom built 8 string guitar, Sharp played two 45 minutes sets that constantly stretched the limits of what a guitar might do. Using both hands independently, he tapped the instrument's fingerboard with the manic intensity of a stenographer on steroids.

Oftentimes he would perform an intricate series of percussive, robotic sounds, sample them and manipulate the speed of the loops into something entirely different. At one point, he played more with his feet than with his hands. When he got his loops sounding just right, Sharp let them play on, and picked up a curved soprano saxophone which he also looped and morphed into the electronic, chaotic maelstrom.

Sharp is also something of a blues historian, so every now and then, snippets of wild, atonal blues licks, (think Robert Johnson meets Derek Bailey) slipped into his improvisations.

After the concert Sharp hung out, talked with everybody one on one, and even let a few lucky attendees pluck away at his instrument.

photo by Chris Woo

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