Neumos
Seattle, WA
2011 – 03/24

Going to see Akron/Family is an exercise: literally. Besides never knowing how the freak-folk-rock band is going to blast out the versions of their songs — maybe a bit softer here, a bit harder there — when the band came out to the Neumo’s crowd, multi-instrumentalist Seth Olinsky led the crowd in a quick jumping jacks exercise to loosen those joints out.

It was quite a good idea, to be fair, because Akron/Family are generally not content on stage if you are just standing in the audience. They want you engaged, whether that is through doing jumping jacks, holding up the Christmas light chains they personally drag throughout the crowd, or just simulating the sea in a motion of hands.

Akron/Family are generally not content on stage if you are just standing in the audience. They want you engaged, whether that is through doing jumping jacks, holding up the Christmas light chains they personally drag throughout the crowd, or just simulating the sea in a motion of hands.

The band opened with a couple songs off of Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, including a soft intro with “Set ‘Em Free” and the more rocking and engaging “River” — the latter of which truly showcases the bands ability to just lock into ‘rock mode’ and set the crowd into a dancing frenzy. At times, it can be tough to figure out where the band is going, as the trio just blasts around on stage with improvised guitar lines, hefty bass lines, and yelps of distortion. At one point, when the jam seemed to go too long, both Miles Seaton and Olinksy hopped off the stage to get their Christmas lights into the crowd and rile the mass of bodies right back up. The band played a fantastic set, with many songs off their new album, ST II – The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT, and a few smatterings of other songs.

And also, like all good bands, the band denied one man’s cry for a specific song. An Akron/Family performance isn’t 12 or 13 songs made up into a set; it is just one continuous flowing motion, like the sea of fingers they created in the crowd for the song “Island.” For ninety minutes or so, the band is on stage, and they are making noise. You can sit on the balcony and drink a beer, but the experience is truly different when you’re in the thick of it.

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