Wednesday night a friend and I drove three hours to Pensacola, FL to a small vegetarian restaurant/bar called Sluggos to catch The Academy Is… on their ‘Hello My Name Is…’ acoustic tour.
The doors were meant to open at 8pm; however, they opened around 8:45pm. During the wait a homeless man that referred to himself as ‘Just James the superstar/number 1’ decided to talk to my friend and I as well as break into song at any given time. He said he played guitar. He also told my friend that she was Sarah Palin because of her glasses, and later he decided I was in the Mickey Mouse Club and knew Britney Spears. None the less, the somewhat small crowd filed into the building around 8:45pm and Just James stayed outside. A recently signed local band called Sky Tells All opened the show and were rather humorous with their small talk, but as far as music goes they were good., certainly opening act material.
After Sky Tells All played and broke down their set, Tony, TAI’s tour manager, began setting up the stage for William Beckett and Adam Siska. William came out alone first. He had words with the crowd before he played, and I must interject that in such a comfortable setting he acted more like he was playing to a group of friends than a crowd of teenagers. He played songs from all three albums, Almost here, Santi, and Fast Times At Barrington High, as well as some B-sides. Half way through the set Sisky joined in as well. However, I must say the best part of the night was how many songs they covered. The list ranged from Radiohead to Steriophonics to John Lennon, and even Alkaline Trio. It was definitely worth the drive just for that.
It is here that I must include how excellent the music sounded. Usually, when I think acoustic I think the songs lose some of the umph they have when played traditionally by the whole band; however, on this night I felt as if I was listening to a recording of each song and each song maintained its initial impact. Nothing was lost in the conversion to acoustic and for that I am very thankful as well as insanely impressed.
In the end, I would sum the performance up as this: If TAI were to put out an Acoustic album, I would have it pre-ordered.
Also, William was very proud to say that he had solved the Rubik’s Cube and asked everyone to join him in watching one of the merch guys solve it in just a few minutes.