Akron/Family10. Akron/Family at Bumbershoot. The band may not have made this list

Akron/Family10. Akron/Family at Bumbershoot. The band may not have made this list if I hadn’t been so underwhelmed by Akron/Family’s Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, largely because everyone I knew talked the damn thing up so much. I can’t count the number of times I put it in and tried to sit down and really listen without success. The thing just couldn’t hold my attention, and to me, good albums don’t just hold your attention, they command it. I put it down on my desk and there it sat, gathering dust. But the band’s set at Bumbershoot changed my mind about this band entirely. Just as it is when hype raises your expectations so high that even a really good band fails to impress (as it had with Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free), when you don’t expect much of a band and then that band proceeds to blow your mind right up out of your head and into the stratosphere, it turns what would’ve otherwise just been a good show into a great show, and a great show into the stuff of legend. Had I not been completely certain that the fuzzed-out psychedelic haze of rawk howling through the speakers was really, truly the same band whose album had recently bored me to tears, I would not have believed those two artists were one and the same, or even belonged in the same section of the record store. Even though the weather was cloudy, chill and decidedly less than ideal, it didn’t detract from the experience. Quite the opposite: the misty, constant drizzle and goopy mud we were all dancing in actually made me feel like I had just teleported back to Woodstock through sheer power of will. Maybe it was just the insanely good bud a friend of mine was kind enough to share, but it was a truly blissful experience, the kind of giddy dragon we music nerds are always chasing after at every show, but only stumble upon occasionally, and usually only when we least expect it. And when I revisited Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free a few days later, I found myself much more prepared to appreciate its bizarre-icana, and the album now lives in my car, where I’ve found myself best suited to appreciate its quirks.