Review: Akron/Family bring psychedelic ecstasy to Crowbar in Ybor City
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Akron/Family’s Miles Seaton warned to the Crowbar crowd Tuesday night in Tampa. Indeed, with the nightclub’s regular All Good Tuesdays DJ-drink special event scheduled for 11:30 p.m., it looked as if a band that seems to elasticize the space-time continuum would be bound to it.
In the end, the trio played well past that deadline. It did, however, waste no time in bringing the crowd into its signature brand of psychedelic ecstasy.
Early in the set, the band had the less than capacity but enthusiastic crowd doing a swaying dance that was as much spiritual as physical. It was a moment more sublime than ridiculous, if only slightly so. That the band incorporated a life-size cardboard stand up of Snoop Dogg (who they inexplicably referred to as Dr. Dre) promoting alcoholic energy drink Blast seemed almost incidental.
(The prop was spotted crowd surfing later in the set.)
The set was even more gloriously shaggy than the band’s albums, and that’s saying something. The playing veered wildly from vintage ‘70s fusion to bombastic rock to eerie pastoralism, while the occasional three-part harmonies could have been Fleet Foxes gone feral.
A half-hour before the alleged cut-off time, the band began gathering serious steam, obliterating any notion of the supposed limitations of the guitar-bass-drums format. The boys can play, no doubt, but mere technique rides in the back of their bus, while emotion and imagination do the driving.
An epic version of Everyone Is Guilty closed the show. Seaton augmented the pre-recorded percussion track with a couple of beer bottles before strapping on his bass for a tightly wound riff. The song was Akron/Family in microcosm, traveling through uptown funk, rock histrionics, psychedelic freak-outs and celestial harmonies before its conclusion.
Bad Weather California preceded Akron/Family with a sound that was almost as out-there if more song-oriented. The band dropped Motown bass lines, reggae and even a nod to The Champs’ Tequila into a set that gained strength throughout.
-- Curtis Ross, tbt*