Tripod Jimmie is a San Francisco trio with a special piece of bait: Guitarist Tom Herman was a member of the Ohio avant-rock group Pere Ubu on its first three albums. Not an earthshaking credit, maybe--it didn't draw hordes to the Lingerie on Friday--but any edge counts when you're scraping around in the underground.
The band must live in dread of comparisons to Ubu, which set an unmatchable standard for surreal whimsy. Tripod Jimmie is on a different path, and while Herman's pedigree came through Friday in the quirky time signatures and noise-rock workouts, the band pretty much staked out its own territory.
Powerful instrumental passages, keyed by Herman's slide guitar and Lennie Bove's percussive bass, were the main attraction. But yelping vocals, cryptic, slogan-like lyrics and minimal personality suggest that Tripod Jimmie (there is a tripod, by the way, holding a tape recorder that periodically augments the sound) is in no hurry to leave its esoteric corner.