Friday, September 21, 2007

This is a Lot of Concerts... Days 13-15: Akron!

Ok, so flying to Boston for one night and sleeping in the park was a little bit crazy, but, honestly, flying is easy... And sleeping? Well that's a luxury. I'm willing to take things a little bit further when it comes to Akron/Family (above). The fabulous Akron boys were to play in Athens on the 15th, but their show on the 13th in Birmingham was too tempting to pass up, 9 AM class the next day be damned!

After driving two and a half hours through torrential rains and construction on I-20, I arrived at the Bottletree (an excellent little venue if there ever was one) just in time for Akron's set. For this tour, Megafun and Greg Davis join Akron to form a seven-piece force of nature. The sheer power of this band was evident when, about five minutes into the set, all seven men were pounding drums and shouting at the top of their lungs. Akron placed a heavy emphasis on an almost tribal sense of percussion throughout the two-and-a-half hour show.

Akron/Family shows are utterly exhausting. They start with blasts of pure rock energy before turning to 7-piece harmonic chanting. Next comes a funky, danceable jam before they descend into chaotic noise. Songs emerge briefly and descend again into the glorious mass of alternately beautiful and abrasive improvisation. And just when you think they've utterly exhausted you, "Ed is a Portal" kicks in and propels life back into the entire crowd. By the time the song reaches its climax, the atmosphere is one of an utterly blissful celebration and the band and the audience are one.

Yes, that's a lot of ridiculously high priase, but they're my favorite band in the world, so I get to geek out over them and drive all over the country to see them. I left Birmingham at 3 am eastern time, utterly elated. I got home in time to catch about an hour of sleep before class.

As much as my heart told me to drive to Knoxville to catch Akron/Family at the Bijou, my brain won out for once and I got an excellent substitute in the form of one of Atlanta's finest local rock acts, the Carbonas. The British hardcore band the Hipshakes opened with a fun set and the Carbonas, despite missing their regular bassist, turned in yet another perfect set of punk energy and pop melody.

I drove up to the 40 Watt for Akron/Family's show on the 15th and the same gushing praise applies: manifestations of ancient gods, lightning personified, etc etc. I think that's (more than) enough for now...I'll keep it a little more down to earth next time as Septinnitus contniues.


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