Akron/Family, Delicate Steve
March 31, 2011
Better than: staying home and watching the Mavericks lose to the Lakers.
True believers in Akron/Family's brand of psychedelic folk showed up in relative force to worship at the altar of all things bizarre and wonderful last night at The Loft, and the band responded in kind as the trio of Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky and Miles Seaton put on a display that warranted a bigger venue and a weekend night.
At least a couple hundred folks ventured out in the mild weather to catch a cool couple of bands that played to their strengths -- even though such meant deviating from the expected norm.
First up was New Jersey's Delicate Steve, a five-piece that had an appreciative crowd from the get-go. Although the band hit the stage at around 8:30, a good-sized crowd had already congregated around the stage and was fist-pumping and swaying to each and every song throughout Delicate Steve's all-too-brief 30-minute set.
And even though Akron/Family arrived at the venue three hours late, the band somehow made it on stage by around 10 o'clock, and performed a sound-check as part of their regular set.
But, with Akron/Family, such is not a problem: The band played as if rehearsing in front of an appreciative extended family. Songs morphed into one another as Seaton and crew stuck primarily to cuts from the recently released Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. And even though the newer material may have been somewhat unfamiliar, the audience ate up each and every psychedelic morsel. The extended sing along to "A AAA O A WAY" in particular seemed to go on forever, as Seaton and Olinksy waded out into the crowd, banging various percussion instruments.
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It felt like a special performance: Whether it was a new song like "Island" or an older cut such as "River," both band and audience seemed linked in some sort of cultish séance. Indeed, the glazed eyes of those people at the front of the stage gives credence to some sort of other-worldly experience. Of course, it could have been all the binge drinking done in the parking lot prior to the show.
In any case, Akron/Family provided an hour and a half of intense and original music that never was anything less than engaging.
Personal Bias: When I first heard Akron/Family several years back, I wasn't that impressed. But the last couple of releases have garnered more and more of my attention. Mixing the feedback-laced dynamics of Sonic Youth with a trippy, jam-band vibe, this family held my interest for the entire show. Not an easy feat.
By The Way: Why were so many people wearing winter hats? I even heard folks complaining that the venue was too cold. People! In Texas, in March, we welcome 50 degree nights! We know what's coming...