Akron/Family are a band that has alluded me for years. I’ve known the name, and nothing more. However, after hearing about their killer opening set for Two Gallants at The Fillmore a few months ago, I decided to explore them. I was expected something folk leaning based on the name, but found they were something much more. Much weirder. And way more electric. And decided that I needed to see them live.
Avi Buffalo opened the show by doing their best possible impersonation of Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Vocalist Avi Zahner-Isenberg’s voice hit certain pitches that few people can hit, and the band sounded good. However, I simply wasn’t a fan of their songs. They were at their strongest when they found themselves moving away from the compositions and pushing into “jam” territories. Yes, jamming can be a dirty word in may circumstances, but here, it was great! The band didn’t jam in a noodly way. They jammed in a muscley, aggressive way that sounded amazing! It felt like a whole new band, and I wished that they focused more of their attention on the heavy, instrumental stuff.
Akron/Family are currently traveling as a four piece. And they opened up with all four pieces playing a slow tribal beat. They then segued it straight into the thunderous “No-Room,” the opening track off their latest release, Sub Verses. That kicked off 45 minutes of pure, heavy magic. Bassist and primary vocalist Miles Seaton was the defacto leader, at least, he came off that way.
The bulk of the set was material culled off Sub Verses, a record that balances a ferocious, near metallic crunch with their experimental, nearly psychedelic weirdness. It made for a set far more lively than most experimental indie rock shows, and a crowd that managed to actually DANCE! Although the room was only about half full, it was perfect because there were plenty of people on board to simply move. In fact, they show didn’t slow down until about 2/3 of the way through the set when they did “Light Emerges.” This was a bright and bouncy number led by drummer Dana Janssen, punctuated with some impressive moog and percussion by touring temp member M. Geddes Gengres.
In whole, Akron/Family did a solid, nearly two hours, of blissful rock n roll. They encored with the tender slow jam “When I Was Young,” encouraging the crowd to slow dance. And, of course, we all did grab a partner and have a wonderful awkward dance moment.