The Academy Is – Leeds Cockpit

By paul

Every date on this tour has sold out, even after many venues had been upgraded. To say this tour is the hottest ticket around is pretty fair, and mainly because of one band – Panic! At The Disco. It’s odd how a band have gone from absolute nobodies to the next big thing in a matter of months, something I think the band themselves haven’t actually grasped yet. P!ATD are huge. Like teenybopper huge. There are rows and rows of young girls here queuing to get into the 500-capacity venue and they’re here for one reason.

Which is a shame because both of the other bands on this tour are better live. THE JUNIOR VARSITY are on Victory and while their CD is good but not great, live they take things up a notch. While their song structures are quite like The Get Up Kids, live they add in a dose of Moneen and a pinch of Armor For Sleep. The band are not only heavier on stage, but more ‘alive’ too; keyboardist Nick bangs his head in time to the music and vocalist Asa is a bundle of (drunken) energy. TJV will certainly win lots of new friends on this tour if they carry on performing like this (8).

As JV end, the throngs of young girls forcefully make their way to the front. The bar is pretty much empty, mainly because the number of over 18s in the audience is in the minority. Let’s get this straight; I love ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’. It’s not even a guilty pleasure, it’s a real life pleasure. It has everything I want to listen to in a pop-punk CD – who cares if they rip off a tonne of bands and have the production knobs turned up to the max? PANIC! AT THE DISCO are fun, fun, fun, but I half expected to be let down by their live performance – and I wasn’t wholly wrong. ‘ The Only Difference Between Martydom and Suicide is Press Coverage’ sounds weak – the guitars are too low and the samples just don’t sound powerful enough. Brandon, maybe a little surprisingly, is actually a very good vocalist, but something is missing – the power the band have on record just isn’t matched on stage. Needless to say, the kids lap it up. They sing every single word. P!ATD are still good fun, but early on they don’t justify their new found God-like status. However, they get better as soon as Brendan picks up a guitar and they play as a full band. ‘Camisado’ and ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ spark near hysteria, but are performed with the energy you;d expect of a pop-punk band. ‘Lying is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off’ isn’t too bad, but with technical problems blighting them – covered up by Brendan playing KC and JoJo songs – they finish with ‘Build God, Then We’ll Talk’ and that’s it – no ‘Time To Dance’ or a host of others. Far too short, but P!ATD prove they may well be able to win over the doubters in the long-term…(7.5)

THE ACADEMY IS… have the campest frontman I have ever seen. But to be fair to William Beckett, he’s actually very good. Very, very good infact. He throws himself around the stage with a swagger and confidence Panic! need to grab hold of. The band run through the vast majority of their ‘Almost Here’ album over the course of an entertaining 50-minute set. ‘Season’ and ‘Classifieds’ are well received, while new song ‘The Fever’ is given its first ever airing. TAI are a good band, but I think they lack a certain something to take them to the next level. Live, Mr Beckett prowls and dances like his life depends on it, making them a hell of a lot more interesting. ‘The Phrase That Pays’ and ‘Black Mamba’ spark singalongs too, proving TAI are another band that seem to have cracked the UK without any official releases or promotion. Somebody, somewhere, is doing something right… (8)