|The Academy Is...
September 2, 2005 - The Big Dipper - Spokane, WA
by Ashley Graham
Somebody book these boys a tour worthy of them!! I felt it the first time I saw them, I felt it this time too: these dated pop/punk, screamy, little-to-no-talent bands are no match to the talent of The Academy Is... But wait, is it that these boys are especially ubertalented? Probably not. Is it that they are talented enough and put on a live show to quell any thoughts of their mediocrity? YES! These boys blow the socks off of their tour line-up competition, competition that in most cases has been in the game quite a bit longer than them. The band's debut landed last spring and in such a short time they've not only perfected themselves as a live band, they've managed to earn a large following of, albeit young, fans.
Last April their debut disc Almost Here found its way to my skeptical ear and despite any pre-listening inclinations toward dislike, within hours it had taken hold of my little boombox and stayed in there for days. The key to this band is being fun, and it's this that makes them inescapable. It's also this that sets them apart from tour partners Spitalfield and Over It, and headliners Hidden in Plain View. Those boys that scream just don't have what The Academy Is... has--and it'd be nice for the rest of us if they knew it.
Frontman William Beckett doesn't scream a word, and he makes the band because of it. Without the obligatory rant and attention-centered frontman description, I'll simply say that Beckett is a success. He knows how to move, he knows how to involve the crowd; he knows when to smile, he knows when to shake it; he's got attitude, but also manages to be down to earth and completely pleasant. And speaking of pleasant, drummer Andy "The Butcher" Mrotek is freakin' ace at his set. The guy didn't quit smiling the whole set. From a group who's newly-post teen years, The Academy Is... manage to combine wit, charm, style AND talent to be just about the most refreshing thing you'll see on stage.
Now, if only they could get on some better tour bills so I wouldn't have to see them blow away these mediocre bands, and, well, just so I wouldn't have to sit through these mediocre bands, I'd really be in love.
More information on the little band that could can be found at their website, www.theacademyis.com, and samples of their songs and annoying teenage fan comments can be checked out at www.myspace.com/theacademyis. (Don't let the kids discourage you.)