After forming back in 2003 and having many ups and downs along the way, The Academy Is has reached a milestone celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the release of their debut album Almost Here. On February 6th the band played to a sold out crowd at the Metro in their hometown of Chicago IL.
I was surprised at how many younger tweens and teens were at the show, but it was not unexpected. The punk/pop scene that has exploded over the past couple of years with breakouts such as Fall Out Boy, Cobra
Starship, and Boys Like Girls to name a few, and has brought a new age group to the scene that was once dominated in the late nineties by boy band fever. At least nowadays the so-called boy bands play their own
instruments and write their own music (well, most of them anyways)!
The crowd was pretty mellow during most of the openers but once Sing it Loud went onstage, you could tell that people were ready for TAI to go on and the crowd immediately got a lot more energetic. As The
Academy Is came out onto the stage, the crowd went crazy. I haven’t seen these guys play in over a year, so to me they were definitely a lot more clean cut than I remember them being! William Beckett was sporting a much shorter hairstyle that was a bit slick and to the side, and the other guys in the band also had much shorter hair than I remember. Over the years, I have probably seen The Academy Is close to ten times, if not more, and this was by far one of their best shows. A lot has to be said about playing on their home turf though; I think that is where you definitely will get the most support!
The set started with the album Almost Here, as they were going to play the album from front to back in its entirety. ‘Attention’ was the first track, and the band sounded better than ever; TAI has never failed to meet my expectations at a live show. Going through the tracks, eventually they got to Black Mamba, which is one my personal favorites. The whole album is really upbeat and has a lot of energy; it made for a great ending with the title track ‘Almost Here’. At one point in the show William Beckett even joined the crowd, by crawling on in with everyone to perform…no stage diving, but there was quite a bit of crowd surfing going on with the fans. The guys then performed three tracks from the album Santi and three tracks from the album Fast Times at Barrington High to round out the end of the set.
I really cannot believe that Almost Here has been out for over 5 years now, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing what The Academy Is has in store for us next! Here is the set list for the show that night and I highly recommend checking them out the next time they come around to your city if you haven’t seen them yet. You will not be disappointed!
3. Slow Down
4. The Phrase That Pays
5. Black Mamba
6. Skeptics and True Believers
9. Down And Out
10. Almost Here