Following the success of their debut album, Tales from the Backseat, The Academic have been on the road since the beginning of the year, and after announcing their headline tour with Wolff and Marsicans, they quickly sold out SWG3. The Academic’s music is very reminiscent of bands like The Strokes and The Kooks, mixed with the bouncy danceability of a 1975 song. Their music is not groundbreaking, however what makes them so delightful is their easygoing approach to music. Listening to them is like being in a time capsule; each song takes you to a very particular moment in time, most of which are narrated by the musicians themselves. They successfully share their best memories and celebrate the freedom of this time in one’s life; like going out with friends at night and trying to get into a club with fake ID!
What is so charming about seeing The Academic perform is how perfectly this attitude translates on-stage. As an audience member, you can see the genuine enjoyment of the members, from jumping off sets to lead singer Craig Fitzgerald’s crazy leg dancing, which really just looks like he is kicking something imaginary in the air. Fitzgerald later commented that he felt performing was, “addictive, life-inducing”, and likened it to the best cure for a hangover. There was a bit of interaction with the audience, but I personally would have liked the other members to address the crowd too. It’s alright to let the lead singer be a leader, but everyone should try to stand out in their own right. I hope to see more of this from them in the future.
Being inside a small venue like SWG3, the music feels louder, the crowd feels crazier, and the lights more luminescent. The dark venue flashed constantly with lights, purple, blue, red, and yellow, enhancing the rave-like experience.
Stand out tracks of the night were the songs Bear Claws, Mixtape 2003 and Girlfriends. Bear Claws is an upbeat and quirky tune that’s easy to sing along to, with the crowd shouting along, “Hey! Ho!”, making it more of an interactive experience. Mixtape 2003, a danceable and head-nodding guitar track highlighted guitar player Matthew Murtagh and drummer Dean Gavin’s talents. And encore performance,Girlfriends, an ode to young love with a bittersweet melody and relaxed, dreamy vibe, ended the night perfectly.
I would also like to give a quick nod to opening acts Wolff and Marsicans, who stood out in their own right and were a wonderful companion to The Academic.
The Academic finished their tour on 15 October, but are making plans for future dates. Keep tabs on their instagram for more information.