Seth Olinsky of Akron/FamilyAfter seeing jam-freak-avant-folksters Akron/Family put on an incredible show at Brooklyn’s Union Pool in March, there was only one thing left to do: Go home, go online, buy tickets to see them again. After seeing Akron/Family put on an incredible show at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom last night, there’s only one conclusion that can be made: Akron/Family are one of the best live bands currently out there. Rarely is a show as lively and diverse as Akron/Family’s.

If you broke down their set and described it, song by song, it’d be hard to believe it’s all the same show. Most of all, Akron/Family is dynamic, moving from delightfully understated, pretty ballads like “Alps and the Orange Evergreen” and “Crickets,” to epic-lengthed jam-dance numbers “Gravelly Mountains of the Moon” and fan favorite, “Ed Is A Portal.” Most of Wednesday night’s set was dominated by songs from their brand new album, Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, just released this past Tuesday.

Akron/Family, “Ed Is A Portal” (download)

But what really sets Akron/Family apart is the level of interaction, both between band members and with the audience. Three songs into the show, guitarist/vocalist Seth Olinsky invited members of the openers, William Parker’s Southern Satellites, on stage to play along with them. Throughout the show, bassist Miles Seaton played a cheerleader of sorts, inviting the audience to sing, snap, clap, dance. “I feel like you’re just staring at us. Maybe you could put your hands up or something,” he said, demonstrating, before “Creatures,” a groovy, bass heavy tune from the new album.

For the last quarter of the show, they pulled out some of the sing-a-longs from the Union Pool concert, “Woody Guthrie’s America” and “Crickets.” Especially poignant was the album closer from Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, “Last Year,” which is simply one repeated refrain – “Last year was a hard year / for such a long time / this year is gonna be ours.” The audience stomped, clapped and sang along as the band observed. (See the video below.)

Eventually Akron/Family descended from the stage, walked up along the Bowery Ballroom’s balcony, then down to the showroom floor, staking out a circle in the center of the audience. They jammed until someone yelled out “Dance party!” and the disco ball came on, sending everyone home dancing.

To see more pictures, click here.

They Will Appear
Alps & The Orange Evergreen
Gravelly Mountains of the Moon
Ed is a Portal
Everyone Is Guilty
Sun Will Shine (Warmth of the Sunship Version)
Last Year
Woody Guthrie’s America

Akron/Family Audience: “Last Year” Live @ Bowery Ballroom, May 6th

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