The Academy Is – Leeds Cockpit

By paul

The Academy Is… (+ The Audition + Young Love)
Leeds Cockpit

Tonight’s ‘Sold Out’ show, admittedly, may not have been possible for The Academy Is… if it weren’t for the publicity gained by fellow Chicagoans and Fueled By Ramen label mates, Fall Out Boy. With the addition of a new guitarist and new album ‘Santi’ (apparently meaning their version of ‘Cheers!’) finally hitting the shelves, tonight will determine whether or not they are worthy of the hype they’ve received and consequently what the future may hold for them.

First band on this evening is the emoliciously titled ‘Young Love’, who are virtually unheard of- even by the hippest scene kids tonight. However, this is the perfect opportunity for them to showcase their upbeat Indie/Pop sound to just the audience who are likely to love them. Opening song ‘Discoteque’ goes down a storm. It’s ridiculously catchy and actually manages to create a bit of a stir before receiving cheers and a very warm, welcoming round of applause. The singer has a fantastic voice and heaps of charisma, combine that with a curious combination of bling, suit jacket and hat, he helps distract from the bands visible lack of confidence in playing to such a tightly packed room, who tend to look at anything but the crowd. Regardless, they sound immaculate and manage to make some of the ‘cooler’ types forget who they were trying to be and actually dance, sweat and start having fun. In response to the announcement of their last song, the crowd, in unison, give a pantomime style “Awwww!” to which Young Love’s vocalist sincerely responds with “It’s OK, there’s some really cool bands coming on! … We’ll be back!”. Too right they will be! For fans of ‘Panic! At The Disco‘ and ‘Cobra Starship‘. *8.5*

“Let’s fucking do this!” shouts The Audition‘s frontman before launching into ‘You’ve Made Us Conscious’. Even though the crowd sing along and create a mini slampit, ‘Young Love’ in comparison make them sound untidy. This is partially due to it being so loud which makes it harder for the instruments to be appreciated and forces the vocals to struggle over the music. They sound far more ‘Rock’ tonight than on the record, which is greatly appreciated by the crowd, even though when the microphone is held out into the crowd no one’s really sure of the words. The show does get better as they own the crowd and the HUGE pit for ‘Dance Halls…’. They finish on ‘Don’t Be So Hard…’ and at least end the show on a high, but showing only part of what they’re capable of. *7*

The lights are low as The Academy Is… enter one by one onto the stage. The crowd goes insane as William Beckett completes the line-up and the band start to play. By second song ‘Classifieds’ the ceiling is already starting to drip with the enthusiasm and the crowd love it. Beckett somehow manages to remain sincere and grounded through the performance as he smiles and holds hands with members in the audience. TAI are giving it everything they have and it doesn’t appear that they’d ever rather be anywhere else. The atmosphere is immense as everyone dances and sings along. Even when one of the unfamiliar songs off ‘Santi’ is played it receives a hugely positive response. As for the new guitarist, he fits in perfectly as the band play energetically through all of the greatest tracks from ‘Almost Here’, such as ‘Checkmarks’ and ‘Attention‘, much to the audiences approval. TAI’s forthcoming single ‘Big, Big Mess’ is absolutely awesome and gets a surprisingly great response, indicating good things for ‘Santi’. One of the doors is opened to cool everyone down, yet I still managed to end up with a girl passing out next to me. Fortunately for her it was at the end of the 13 song set. Fantastic performance. *10*