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Akron/Family | Review

Gigwise co UK | Ash McConnell

Seriously, what more could you want?

April 28, 2006 

You've got to feel sorry for Alan Davidson, aka Kitchen Cynics, plagued as he is tonight by technical problems throughout his set through no fault of his own, because in fact his synth-folk songs are pretty and delicate with the wittiest lyrics ever. I wrote this song for my young mate to tell him all the ways in which he could die before me, I took great pleasure in it; he says before beginning the most hilarious song in history, including poisonous magic mushrooms and lying in a coma till your dead. He deserves a much longer set than he gets, which is particularly grating considering what follows, but more of that later. All alone on the stage with a guitar, he has the audience in stitches at his cynical words, whilst still creating sweet little tunes which hold the set together in spite of setbacks. Kitchen Cynics really knows how to entertain a crowd, but at the same time you can tell he's really enjoying himself.  Brilliant.

The shortness of Kitchen Cynics' set is emphasized by the length of Adem's set, which lasts perhaps 40 minutes but feels like 40 years. Gigwise would love to be able to say there are no words to describe its tedium and leave it at that, but sadly there are plenty. He takes himself far too seriously, and sucks any life there might once have been from his own music. He even manages to make a multicoloured xylophone dull. He tells us he has an album out now which he is 'very excited' about, which Gigwise sincerely doubts since we suspect he's never been excited about anything in his life. The music is pretentious, without the redeeming feature of still being interesting. Tiresome to the point that it could possibly result in death. 

Kenny Anderson, or King Creosote as he's known when performing, has an unbelievable 24 albums under his belt (unbelievable since he's not 100 years old), a shining testimony to the fact that a lack of serious fame makes you more productive. King Creosote is a regular performer in Aberdeen, and he is much beloved in the city. As always, the set is faultless, diverse (not surprising given the back catalogue he has to choose from) and beautiful. He has a haunting and interesting voice, not affected as Adem's is, and retaining his strong Scots accent which adds a genuine edge to the songs. They are enthusiastically received, as they always are, and the crowd actually thins after he's played.

Not that Akron/Family care or probably even notice. Try to imagine Sigur Ros going on a camping trip in the old American mid-west with Deep Purple. Got it? Now stick in a drummer in a leotard and a topless Jesus, and you've pretty much got Akron/Family. They sneak up on you a bit like a bin lorry at five in the morning; you don't realize it's coming until you're half deafened with the sound. Akron/Family start off sedately enough with a gentle little acoustic piece, and your only possible indicator of what's coming is the fact that they all have their tops off (apart from the leotarded drummer). About three minutes they creak into an all out assault on the eardrums, both exciting and hilarious at the same time. Because, as a welcome break from the earlier doldrums of Adem, Akron/Family don't take themselves seriously at all, but just love what they're doing, and play like we're all gathered in their uncle's garage one Saturday night with a keg of some questionable lager. The set is a mixture of styles, usually beginning on an acoustic beauty and traversing through towards a great big party of noise where no-one cares if they're playing the right notes anymore. You know that no matter how many times you see this band, it'll never be the same twice. A pure love of life and music shines through, and it's infectious. Plus their instruments include a Stella bottle, an empty whisky box (because the drummer is swigging out of the bottle), a coin, something that looks like a potato, a kazoo, and a cuddly red bird that makes the rainforest noises. Seriously, what more could you want?
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