Akron/Family / Timber / Matias Sleep La Sala Rosa, Montreal QC - January 12, 2006

Akron/Family are neither from Akron, nor are they related. Ever since they garnered an enthusiastic endorsement from ex-Swan/current Angel of Light Michael Gira, these transplanted Brooklynites have been pushing full steam ahead. Last year, they released two albums on Gira's Young God imprint, a well received full-length and a split album with the Angel-man himself. What's more, they currently make up Gira's backing band. The foursome has been alternately tagged as freak folkers and hippie rockers, an easy finger to point at any band full of scraggly beards. However, spend a couple of hours watching their live show and you'll find that these guys can't be pigeonholed that easily. First up was Matias Sleep, who play spaced-out lullabies, taking cues from the more contemplative side of Galaxie 500. The four members slumbered onto the stage dressed in pyjamas and things only got quieter from there. Next up were Montreal's own Timber, an alt-country quartet who won the sceptical audience over with some great songs, a natural stage presence and a whole lot of promise. The headliners were not about to lose that momentum. The band have a great knack for interacting with their audience. They kicked things off by blending their opening number in with Outkast's "Hey Ya," insisting that they wouldn't get going until everyone in attendance was already dancing. It worked. From thereon in, Akron genre-jumped from noise freak-outs to '70s AM-radio sloganeering to extended folk jams. Throughout, they never forgot their roles as entertainers and this factor elevated their performance from good to memorable.