If anyone unaffiliated with National Geographic should be designated to preserve the memory of ancient whale-eating sharks, it might as well be Seattle’s heavy rock band Akimbo, who wrote a trilogy dedicated to the prehistoric creatures. Bassist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski penned Bane of the Ancient Whales, Harpoon and Cavernous Black Eyes, and he seems to have a sort of science club love for epic subjects of monstrous nature.
Forging Steel and Laying Stone, the fourth and most recent album by Akimbo, sports that same colossal motif, and with songs like “Spooning with Disaster” and “Rockness Monster,” it was clearly conceived with humor.
“There’s no real rhyme or reason to the themes on the albums,” Weisnewski said in a recent phone interview. “Some of that stuff is historic and a lot of it is just stuff I like in a nerdy kind of way.”
Akimbo will kick off its CD release tour in Missoula before heading east to Alabama and then to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The band may not be Ulysses, but to hear Akimbo tell it, touring the United States has an equally adventuring quality, albeit with a modern bent.
“Lots of weird shit happens [on our tours],” says drummer Nat Damm. “Tornadoes, truckers selling pocket knives to buy meth, a bizarre show on the balcony of a frat house in the middle of the day, emergency room visits…a few near-death experiences. Good times.”
Both Weisnewski and Damm chronicle their live shows with the same exuberance they have for ancient sharks.
“It’s like getting in a bar fight with a walrus,” Weisnewski says of the experience. “Only the walrus has robot arms with swords attached to them, and instead of flippers it has tank treads.” Which somehow makes sense in the context of Akimbo’s lumbering riffs and classic-rock compositions.
As it turns out, the band has no intentions of abandoning Odyssean themes, or sharks, for that matter. The next album, according to Weisnewski, will be a concept record about New Jersey shark attacks that took place in the early 1900s. “It’s an amazing story,” he says earnestly, “and I want to write our own little soundtrack to it.”
Akimbo plays Higgins Alley Upstairs Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 8 PM. Cagematch to the Death and razz m’ tazz open.