Jennifer Dill ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
It was 4:30 P.M. on December 13th. The line outside of the House of Blues stretched from the main entrance all the way to the Lansdowne Pub. Everyone was buzzing with excitement and shivering from the cold. But the wait was well worth it, because for the first time in six years, The Academy Is… would be playing in Boston.
Much known as a popular “middle school emo band,” The Academy Is… was a band from Chicago that helped run the emo scene from 2005 until 2008. Despite their fan base’s loyal following and a wacky rise to some fame after a stint on Kiss’ Hottest Show on Earth Tour in 2010, The Academy Is… announced their breakup on October 8, 2011. The following years were full of anticipation and new beginnings. Vocalist William Beckett went on to pursue a solo career, bassist Adam Siska joined up with Carly Rae Jepsen and Say Anything as a touring bassist, and drummer Andrew “The Butcher” Mrotek went on to complete his own solo project titled “The Animal Upstairs.”
While all projects were rather successful, something was missing. That something was a reunion.
On September 13th, 2015, the band announced a North American tour as a one-time reunion to honor the ten year anniversary of Almost Here, the band’s first album.
Tickets sold out almost immediately for the various VIP packages, one of which allowed fans to hang out with the band before the show and one which allowed two lucky fans to hang out with TAI….
The first package package, priced at $250, also came with polaroid pictures and signed posters for each fan, as well as early entry into the venue. At around 4:45 hundreds of fans flooded into the House of Blues eagerly awaiting a photo op and signing opportunity; something many never expected to experience again.
Then at 5:20, the band’s VIP coordinator whisked away those two lucky fans, myself included, out of the crowd for a time to remember: a visit to TAI…’s tour bus.
This particular VIP option, which sold out within three minutes and cost a ridiculous amount of money (around $500), was an exclusive privilege that allowed fans the chance to talk to the band up close and personal, receive a personalized drawing from “The Butcher,” a VIP side stage pass, and, as my friends now know, immense bragging rights.
I’m not sure how others spent this bus time, but my new friend Johanna and I spent it talking about where we work, school, and horror movies; something I now know William Beckett and Adam Siska know a lot about. We also got cute pictures with the band (as seen below).
Unfortunately, this VIP trip flew by, and around 6:15 it was time to head out and reunite with the now-crowded House of Blues.
Then, at around 6:30pm the music festivities began. Opening for TAI… was PARTYBABY, a funky rock band that lit up the stage with energy.
Lead singer Jamie Reed strutted around in a red jumpsuit with “Baby Girl” stitched onto the back while singing jams like “Your Old Man” and “Everything’s All Right,” both of which got everyone in the crowd off of their feet and dancing.
While the band’s music greatly contrasted Almost Here, it was a great way to warm up the audience and get everyone’s vocal chords ready for the moment they were all waiting for.
It was at this point that the VIP coordinator once more summoned me and my friend, along with six other lucky souls, and ushered us to the side of the stage, where we would get to watch TAI… play just feet away from us.
At around 8, the band took the stage and kicked things off with their song “Attention,” the first song on Almost Here. The crowd lit up and screams of joy filled the venue. The Academy Is… was back.
Following “Attention” was “Season,” “Slow Down,” and my personal favorite, “The Phrase That Pays,” which was met with fans excitedly scream-singing the chorus: “Hold your head high heavy heart!”
The entire time my heart was pounding. For the first time in my life I was able to be on stage with people I had idolized for years. I wasn’t just watching the show; I felt as though I was part of it.
While singing, Beckett showed that despite many years of a hiatus, his ability to catch his mic stand from any angle had not deteriorated. Siska proved that he can drink and play bass at the same time. Ian Crawford convinced us that despite not being part of the original band, he could shred on guitar just as well as his predecessor, Michael Guy Chislett. And Mrotek “The Butcher” showed that drummers really do it better.
While the music was great, as always, the best part of the show was the excitement on the band’s faces. Each member looked truly happy to be on the stage with their friends again, and left us all with a feeling of nostalgia and positive vibes.
Before we knew it, the band finished playing through the album. Fans sullenly waited for the inevitable end of the show, but were pleasantly surprised as TAI… busted out a few more tunes, including the ever popular “About a Girl” and “We’ve Got A Big Mess on Our Hands.” At this point it became clear that members of the audience would not be able to talk the next morning.
They ended the show with an encore. featuring “After the Last Midtown Show,” a song that perfectly summed up the evening: excitement, longing, and the everlasting chant of “we’re almost here, again.”
While the night ended far too quickly, it left fans hopeful that this will not be the last of TAI… but that it is just a new beginning.
Now we just have to wait for them to once more be here, again.
Jennifer Dill ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer