Damon Locks doesn’t focus his artistic output on a single project. It’d be restrictive. But that’s easy to figure after listening to the scattered recordings from the Eternals’ camp, which he helms along with Wayne Montana and a revolving cast of drummers. Since releasing the paranoid future-rock on “Approaching the Energy Field” last year through Addenda Records, TimeOut music writer Areif Sless-Kitain has taken the seat when the group performs as a trio. And that’s how the ensemble’s set to appear after the Saturday installment of the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival, opening for Ann Arbor’s NOMO. The Michigan-based headliners big-band funk might sound a bit staid after Locks and company wrap up their set, but just about anything would. From album to album and composition to composition, the Eternals turn in work drawing from tightly wound Electric Flag on “Alarms” to Eastern-tinged hip-hop on “Silhouette.” That latter track, from 2004’s “Rawar Style,” can’t mean to properly represent the entirety of the Eternals’ creative life, but there’s enough funky drumming, distant vocals and unusual instrumentation to almost explain why the group exists. Drawing from Locks’ appreciation of auld school rap stuff and left field rock (he did time in Trenchmouth with Montana and some guy named Fred Armisen), “Silhouette” offers more in its five-minute runtime than most groups do over an entire album. It’s likely that a day’s journey through performances from Tyler Jon Tyler and Jason Roebke at the festival is going to leave folks a bit tired, if not suffering from heat exhaustion. But the Eternals’ appearance at this tacked-on showcase ranks as Saturday’s high point—and it’ll be cooler inside the Bottle than out on the street. (Dave Cantor)
July 21 at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600. 10pm. $12.