The Academy Is…
Armor for Sleep, Sherwood, Cobra Starship, The Rocket Summer
Philadelphia, PA • November 1, 2007
Despite the cold chill in the air, fans were dressed in their best band t-shirts and hoodies in eager anticipation of The Academy Is… and the Sleeping with Giants Tour. The Chicago band was in town to promote their latest effort, Santi. The popular emo rock band was joined by the likes of Cobra Starship, Sherwood, The Rocket Summer and Armor for Sleep.
When I finally got inside, Cobra Starship was on stage. Having seen them exactly one year and one day before, I recall people’s dismay when their infamous track, “Snakes on a Plane,” would start to play and the only person from the video to perform would be Gabe Saporta (and don’t even start me on the whole idea of ‘Who’s Midtown?’). However, this time around when the quintet played the song, there was more recognition from people in the audience; TAI’s William Beckett came to help out with the chorus and the response was overwhelming.
As Sherwood was about to set up for the performance, a smell (like burnt toast) started to flood the room. It soon became clear that something was wrong. An announcement was made that one of the wires connected to a light above the stage had melted; the show was delayed for approximately 15 minutes as the crew checked all the lighting on stage. Meanwhile, a horde of fans flooded the merch tables and the bar upstairs.
Once things were fixed, Sherwood took the stage. The band, signed to Myspace Records, had the crowd jumping and dancing, as they played tracks off their latest release, A Different Light.
The Rocket Summer followed suit; to this day, I cannot understand the hype. As the band on stage started to play, I was reminded of the reactions of the boy band crowds, circa the 90s. Even some of the music reminded me of it. As I found myself stuck in a corner, the audience was bopping along, singing their hearts out to Bryce Avery (aka The Rocket Summer). Avery was putting his all into the music, bouncing from the guitar to the piano.
Armor for Sleep was up next; having released a new CD, Smile for Them, I expected the set to be solely dedicated to promoting the new songs. However, I was shocked (and secretly delighted) to hear them play a large amount of older material from their last release, What to Do When You Are Dead. The band’s sound was remarkable live–something that was surprisingly close to the album–and their energy empowered the crowd to move around a bit. It was a nice follow-up to the overall pop of the Rocket Summer.
Then, it was time. Insert many screams here. The Academy Is… took the stage, with Beckett dressed in black skinny pants and a black-and-white striped shirt (if you’ve seen their video for “Neighbors,” then you know the one I’m speaking of). Looking incredibly lanky, the frontman took command of the show, from his strut on the stage to the microphone stand swinging. Something about his performance and the aura in the venue screamed ‘rock star.’ I know–you may think it’s impossible–but this emo favorite was able to take command of the stage, evidence of why these guys have grown in popularity. The band played for about an hour and a half, give or take, playing all the crowd favorites and their big singles off of both Santi and 2005’s Almost Here. Next time the Academy Is… in Philly, I’ll make sure I’m in line.