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Wednesday, Oct 2 1996
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Giant Sand
Settling to the bottom of a slow-tempo bill like a desert toad in a fish tank full of molasses, Giant Sand's unassuming, off-the-cuff music may have found its perfect niche. Howe Gelb and his inconstant lineup of backing musicians aren't slowpokes like Low or Spain, but their largely improvisational approach to composition and performance often heralds lethargy from critics. Failure at times seems just as welcome to Gelb as success. (At the show, anticipate shoe-gazing, fingers fidgeting with tuning knobs, mumbled apologies, and stooped-shouldered shrugs.) Fortunately for the rest of us, Giant Sand's efforts are more often worthwhile than not. Attempting to categorize them results in meaningless term-pairings like "desert jazz" or "country ether," more useful in press releases than appraisal. Embrace the undefinable; go and be suitably bored or impressed. (Michael Batty)

Low, Spain, and Giant Sand play Thursday, Oct. 3, at 9 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell. Tickets are $10.50; call 885-0750.

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Michael Batty

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