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The Academy Is…

By: Peter Gaston

For any chart-topping rock phenom, it doesn’t hurt to carve out a nest egg for the future while the getting is good. Invest in some property. Get cast in a Hollywood flick. Start a label. Or, as in the case of Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, turn into an A&R scout with a golden touch. Two Wentz-supported acts under the Fueled by Ramen umbrella have quietly turned into massive, steamrolling phenomena: Band of the Day alum Panic! at the Disco (read more) and the Academy Is, today’s outfit du jour.

Rooted in the same Chicago scene that spawned Fall Out Boy, TAI is quickly making believers out of those who might wanly lump together the lot of Warped Tour-friendly acts as homogenous, power chord pushing clones. Someday, they’ll freak people out when they grow up to record a beautiful, seven-minute opus like Death Cab’s “Transatlanticism,” or a perfect pop rock album like the Cars’ Heartbeat City.

The proof lies in the slow-building “Down and Out,” a track towards the end of TAI’s slick full-length debut, Almost Here, that has one foot in youth-gone-wild exuberance and the other in contemplative quarter-life crisis. “Now that I’m grown I’ve seen friendships fall to pieces,” sings frontman William Beckett. “Weekend warriors and our best friends / The writers weren’t kidding that the good things will live in our hearts.” Knee-deep in that tentative time when pals go off to do their thing, to shake of the shackles of typical teenage obligations, Beckett offers hope: “Always up or down, never down and out.” Word. But worry not: There’s still plenty of straight-ahead rocking out on Almost Here, like the fiery romp “The Phrase That Pays,” and the empowering “Season.”

TAI is out on tour now through December in the U.S. with the All-American Rejects and Rooney, and early 2006 will see them cross the pond with the aforementioned Panic! at the Disco.

The Academy Is… tour dates:

11/11, Boston, MA (Avalon) 11/12, New York, NY (Roseland)11/14, Washington, DC (9:30 Club)11/15, Philadelphia, PA (The Electric Factory)11/17, Montreal, QC (Le Spectrum de Montreal)11/18, Toronto, ON (Phoenix Concert Theater)11/19, Belle Vernon, PA (Ice Garden Arena)11/22, Tulsa, OK (Cain’s Ballroom)11/23, Oklahoma City, OK (Bricktown Events Center)11/25, Austin, TX (La Zona Rosa)11/26, Houston, TX (Verizon Wireless Theater)11/27, Grand Prairie, TX (Nokia Live)11/29, Albuquerque, NM (Launchpad)11/30, Tempe, AZ (Marquee)12/2, Los Angeles, CA (Wiltern Theater)12/3, San Diego, CA (University City Forum)12/4, San Francisco, CA (The Fillmore)12/6, Vancouver, BC (Croatian Culture Centre)12/7, Seattle, WA (The Showbox)12/8, Portland, OR (Roseland)12/10, Salt Lake City, UT (In the Venue)12/12, Denver, CO (Ogden Theater)12/14, Kansas City, MO (The Beaumont Club)12/17, Cincinnati, OH (Bogart’s)12/19, Milwaukee, WI (The Eagles Club)12/20, Detroit, MI (State Theater)12/22, Chicago, IL (Metro/Smart Bar)

The Academy Is… official site