Saturday, January 7, 2012

Akron/Family - Bad Weather California -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Jan 6 2012

Bad Weather California - From my former home town of Denver, Colorado, comes this interesting quartet. It does not take long to see that they are not exactly a copy of the 'Denver sound' present in several of the more popular bands in recent times (derived from 16 Horsepower and others). They have a little of that in the mix, but they show the versatility needed to be a valuable member of an Akron/Family billing. There were lots of twists, jagged guitar moves, surf noddings, electronica add-ons all atop some interesting rhythms that went from rock to lounge soca/funk moves. Just when a groove is established, a Boris-like guitar blast comes out for a few measures. Frankly, it got a little silly trying to find all the little things evident in the music and it was far more enjoyable to just sit back and enjoy. Their 43 minute set breezed by the nearly full club gave them a deserved positive reaction. Like all good out-of-town openers, they succeeded with me in that I will gladly go see them on their own tour when they come back our way. I am also still quite happy to see how much good music has happened in Denver over recent years, as it was not that way when I first got there in the 80s.

Akron/Family - I have seen these guys three times and even reviewed their last record for FolkWorld (as well as owning all the previous releases), so I am a rock solid fan who drank the kool aid (spiked with extra sugar) long ago. There is just something infectious about their overall approach of folk, psyche, and rock, with a mix of intensity and whimsy that should not work but does. They have been down to three members for some time, but there is still a ton of sound when they choose to employ it, and simple hand clapping a capella singalongs when they don't. The drummer plays a little guitar and the other two stick to bass and drums primarily, although they hit the electronics tables regularly. As a three-piece I am finally struck by how much they remind me of the Sun City Girls. They also had the crowd doing a mantra dance and chant that reminded me of Ya Ho Wa 13. And it will be a rare day indeed when I reference those bands in a review. The Akron/Family is even more accessible than those two as evident by a surprising number of youngsters tonight (which the band enjoyed seeing, too). These guys work for ages 8 to 80 and for the life of me, I don't see how more of the thousands that go see Animal Collective would not come out for this band. They have got all of that and are even more fun. This was the first show of the new tour and they showed no signs of jet lag after flying into town earlier. 95 minutes of craziness that ranged from Sister Ray sounds to songs I think I heard on the Electric Company with a stop off at a Glenrow cottage with the Incredible String Band.

Quote of the Night: From the Akron/Family... "You guys like raisin parts? Rosa Parks!"

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