Friday, November 14, 2008

"Do you miss looking up from the floor at my face on a stage in a crowded room?"

So as I sit here, munching on saltines and peanut butter (look at this saltine: crazy!), I'll tell you about Bill and Trav's Bogus Journey Tour.

Yes. I went to a The Academy Is... show with a bunch of screaming sixteen-year-olds. Didn't I already tell you I was a scene kid?

I stood outside for a couple hours, marveled at the surprising amount of unflattering haircuts and leggings, and the entered the Roxy around 6:45 when the doors opened. Which was surprising, considering doors were supposed to open around 6:30. As a doorman ripped my ticket, I saw a sign with the set times on it. Hey Monday's set was supposed to start at 6:30 with doors. And so started the night of confusing set times.

As Hey Monday played, the lead singer kept apologizing that their set had been cut down. There was no explanation as to why. They were nothing to write home about; the mics were turned down too far to hear anything they were singing, leaving one of their guitarists looking as though he was just sadly lip-syncing to his own song.

Carolina Liar was on next. Also nothing special. While one of their guitarists looked very excited and happy the entire time, the rest of the band looked a little bored. They were dressed as boy scouts, which was at least a cute gimmick, but the lead singer's long hair and fedora-esque hat led me to believe he was trying to be Kid Rock. Which he was not.

Then We The Kings came on stage. This was the time when I decided to extract myself from the crushing mass of teenage girls. I sadly lost my spot close to the stage (I'd been about 5 people back) but couldn't see how spending an entire night crushed between a girl who smelled like a Bath and Body works store and a boy with the pointiest elbows I'd ever encountered was going to be enjoyable. It took about 5 minutes to squeeze out of the crowd (during which time someone grabbed onto my ponytail and tried to hold me back, which I didn't understand) but I eventually went and stood back by the sound booth.

It was my second time seeing We the Kings (I saw them on the Really Really Ridiculously Good Looking Tour with Cobra Starship back in January) and was still unimpressed. While their songs are catchy and bouncy ("Check Yes Juliet" gets stuck in my head like nobody's business) I just don't see anything overwhelmingly impressive.

After they played, I decided to move back up onto the dance floor. I stayed near the back and expected TAI to play around 9pm, because the Roxy had signs hanging up that mentioned a hard 10pm curfew due to the fact that they're an actual nightclub and had a DJ coming in at 11pm. However by this point, the teeming mass of teenagers was pushing towards the stage so hard that people were getting crushed, so the club security had to take about 10 minutes to convince the crowd to move back and give them room. Then the lights went out, signaling that TAI was about to play, and the crowd immediately ran forward again.

(Tangent: I don't get it. I mean yes, we all want to be close to the stage. That's why we get there early and stand in line and deal with the crowd. But we're all really there because we enjoy the music, which sounds exactly the same 5 feet from the stage as it does 25 feet from the stage. Can't we all just take a few steps back and breathe and have a much better time?)

Of course, The Academy Is... was awesome. They played some of my favorite songs ("Black Mamba" and "Checkmarks" made me smile) and William Beckett even played a new song acoustically, after likening Boston to Chicago and praising the changing seasons. One of my favorite things about The Academy Is... is there ability to actually put on a show. They really look like they're enjoying the music and enjoying playing and having a good time. Beckett is great at working a stage, climbing up on speakers, jumping off of drum sets, and prancing around like he's the only rock star in the world. While he's amazing to watch, I'm sometimes afraid that it takes away from the feeling of TAI being a band and not just Beckett: Mike Carden is often playing way off on the far right of the stage, their other guitarist Michael Guy Chislett is overshadowed as he strums on his gorgeous silver glitter Gibson. The bassist, Adam Siska, had his own share of speaker climbing at one point, but only really smiled a few times through the show. Butcher, the drummer, held his own, banging away with everything he had in the glow of his own spotlight, but it's really Beckett that steals the stage as he throws mic stands and amps up the crowd.

The show closed about five minutes after the "hard 10pm" curfew, and I got to run across the street to be overcharged in a parking garage. Ah Boston, how I love you.

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