The Academic; Inspired by the Indie Rock outburst of the early 2000s, four best-mates from Westmeath, Ireland, and currently on the start of their headline tour of the UK, US and Europe. Not one hour before their gig, they sat down and had a chat to me about the band. It was their first ever headline act in Newcastle, Matthew told me, and the crowd on the night were exceptional. After the gig, they even said that they would be sure to come back, hinting towards a gig closer to New Years.
Their new debut studio album, Tales from the Backseat, contained songs such as ‘Bear Claws’ and ‘Fake ID’, and the Newcastle crowd found the band’s attitude to their music addictive, often forming ‘Mosh pits’ and generally screaming along with the lyrics. The venue itself was perhaps a catalyst for this experience, with the narrowness of the arena creating a personal atmosphere with the band, often at times feeling more like a intimate experience, as opposed to the reality of near to 260 people all crammed together in one solid unit.
Not only featuring songs off of their new album, the band also performed songs off of their other album, released in 2015, ‘Loose Friends’. I was told beforehand that a band favourite, ‘Different’, was a song they personally loved playing live, which was perhaps highlighted by the fact they saved it till last, ending the gig with a solid reminder of where the band have come in the last 3 years, leaving the crowd to wonder ‘Where will they be in the next 3?’, and eager and desperate to see them again. And perhaps somewhat unexpected, unless you had seen the band the day before in Glasgow, they performed a cover of the notorious Buzzcocks song ‘Ever Fallen in Love’. Needless to say, the band’s energy towards the song was infectious, with the crowd mirroring the pure power created on the stage, and it’s safe to say that if you hadn't before, you would’ve ‘fallen in love’ with The Academic by the end of their cover.
But an all-time crowd pleaser, and a song that I personally couldn’t wait to see live, would be ‘Bear Claws’. Just over a year ago, I remember stumbling across a ‘Facebook Live’ video, in which The Academic played their song creatively, adapting the software to create a ‘loop’ effect which is somewhat hard to describe, but definitely easy to listen to (I would recommend a watch if you have the time). The booming rhythm of the guitar, coupled with the enthusiasm of the Bass and Drums, created a spark within the room, almost as if it didn’t feel like you were ‘Just seeing a band’, you were experiencing something which was somewhat ‘once in a lifetime’. The echoing ‘Ay, oh, I’ll never let you go’ of the chorus could’ve been heard across the streets of Newcastle afterwards, and summarised the experience itself: one I will never want to let go off.
‘The Academic’ are one of those bands that if you don’t see soon, you will regret later. I often think to myself ‘What would it be like to go and see the ‘Arctic Monkeys’ at The Boardwalk in 2005?’ Or ‘What would it be like to see the ‘Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ on the streets of LA in 1986?’ These amazing personal gigs with the up-and-coming talent of the future. Don’t reflect on the Gigs that you ‘could’ve seen’. Make a change, and go and see these acts while you still can. The Academic is a live experience that you can’t afford to miss out on.