Live music reviews: Akron/Family, Dead Kenny G's, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Ybor City

Reviews of three shows that took place over the past week in Ybor.

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click to enlarge Akron/Family - Phil Bardi
Phil Bardi

January 10, 2012
Akron/Family, Crowbar, Ybor City

Akron/Family brought heady roiling experimentation to Ybor last Tuesday night and somewhere around 150 people showed up to see it amid a smoke-free (per the band’s demand) environment, the crowd at Crowbar thinning a bit as the evening wore on and re-filling with the regulars of All Good Tuesdays, which started promptly at midnight when the band finished up their show.

Bassist Miles Seaton admitted to feeling under the weather before Akron launched into the set, but he soldiered through just fine, the only sign a certain frailty to his singing. Guitarist Seth Olinsky had hacked off his long hair and sported a clean-cut fresh-faced look to go with his wailing guitar solos, while drummer Dana Janssen kept up the pulsing rhythmic backing and occasionally abandoned the beats to add guitar or bass accompaniment, all three taking turns on lead vocals and support harmonies. [Text by Leilani, photos by Phil.]

The trio only played a total of nine songs, most off last year’s S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT, but they expanded on most with messy, drawn-out noise-experimental waves of sound, or tribal wild and unrestrained jam-odysseys. Seaton and Olinsky both had their own stands of synths and effects gear, and ramped up the seething fuzz and wailing loudness or scaled the heady all the way back for stripped-down breaks of quiet and pretty.

A cardboard cutout of Snoop Dogg (jokingly referred to as Dr. Dre throughout the show) was introduced three songs in and made appearances throughout the night, even thrown into the crowd to join a few daring crowd surfers who were surprisingly successful despite the thinning crowd.

They did play a few numbers off 2009’s Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free — the gorgeous meandering “River” towards the beginning of the set, and the prog-tribal rager, “Everyone Is Guilty,” to close the show — but they ended on a satisfying Shinju note with the screaming guitar and propulsive drive of “Silly Bears.”

January 14, 2012
Dead Kenny G's, Crowbar
Holy Ghost Tent Revival, New World Brewery

Saturday night found an overabundance of shows happening all over town. In Ybor City, two were happening at once and I dropped in to enjoy a taste of both.

Dead Kenny G's were just as amazing as I expected, and to a room of 60 people at Crowbar, the three-piece jammed punk-heavy on their avant-jazz-funkadelic worldish cocktail of mostly instrumental tunes, showing that humor and smarts mixed just fine, thanks very much. Mike Dillon showed off his ridiculous prowess, keeping time on drums and vibes at the same time, adding texture on tablas and percs. Brad Houser traded between fatty and fuzzed-out bass and growling baritone sax. And Skerik delivered wildly screeching, deep rumbling or playfully warped sax, or plunked some funky keys and added space-crazed synth effects, or raged through some distorted guitar riffs, at all times a lively mischievous presence who offered a running commentary on the songs and history and various other topics as his eyes bugged out and eyebrows jiggled up and down in a parody of himself. He and Dillon both brought gruff vocals into the mix at various points throughout the night. While I was there, they performed from two album's worth of original material — including “Black Truman,” “Black Budget,” “Melvin Jones,” and “Black Death,” off their 2011 second LP, Operation Long Leash — along with a hilarious cover of “Kill the Poor” by the Dead Kennedys. I also witnessed an inebriated dready dude try to single-handedly start a mosh pit with his douchey friend, his limbs flailing uncontrolled and into several very unamused people and a full glass of beer, its contents sailing through the air and landing in a wet splash on a man's camera bag. Party foul.

Holy Ghost Tent Revival closed out my evening at New World with their soulful, upbeat foot-stomping roots rock, ending show with the NOLA jazzy swing of "Getting Over Your Love," and leaving me with a good feeling that stayed with me the rest of the weekend. Ahhhhh, music...

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