The Academic At Whelan’s – Review
Switched on the radio lately? It’s likely that within those airwaves you’ve heard The Academic soaring and swirling around with their ever infectious musical ways. Constantly improving and striving with their performances, whether that be for live gig settings or television appearances (Late Late Show, Imelda May Show), these Mullingar lads have now completely nailed their sound in place.
After being in the fortunate position to see them three times in the one weekend at the 2014 Indiependence festival, it was from then that I was completely hooked and onboard with wherever their journey would take them. It’s like when you have that one Pokemon you’re really attached to and watch it grow, then one day it evolves into something bigger and more powerful. Of course you loved it in its original form but this transformation brings it to a whole new level of pride. The rewards from all their recent hard work are clearly reciprocated in their ever growing fan base and mirrored sell-out shows, such being the case in a completely sold-out Whelan’s on Thursday night.
Even as they open their set with ‘Chasers’ there’s so much energy and noise that add to the already overheated room. The even louder ‘Super Scary’ is such a crowd pleaser and gets belted back at them from excited bunches near the front of the stage. Watching them play with such enthusiasm and fast-paced arrangements has never been more enjoyable. They’re completely at ease with their stage presence, and lead Craig Fitzgerald has perfectly moulded into his role. The crowd are there and willing to his every command as he gives it his absolute all. The band as a whole are all also so in tune with each other as the set progresses. Where their communication once seemed distant and lost on stage, they now completely gel as one, and their likeable characters shine through their visible enjoyment of it all.
‘Thought I Told You’ and ‘Sometimes’ again add fuel to this raging fire of talent that rises up and is sent on a frenzied spiral around the room. At points you’re even reminded of an equally energetic Two Door Cinema Club, who in a similar fashion have this seemingly endless energy, that’s wound up and released for their live performances.
Being the first The Academic track I was introduced to, ‘Bear Claws’ is absolutely adored and rightly so. Even in comparing that particular performance of it back to a previous Indiependence encounter, the leaps and bounds forward are so significant. Having several clusters of festival goers listen in to your set is one thing, but to now be selling out shows and turning heads more than ever before it’s the exact direction and attention they deserve.
Finishing up with the complete anthem that is ‘Different’, the ground floor in Whelan’s resembles a pit with arms flailing everywhere and heads going ninety in time with the spiralling guitar riffs and colliding drums that scoop the whole room up collectively in a wave of intensity. Everything has turned into a hot and sweaty mess, both on-stage and off, but it’s just brilliant.
The Academic are most definitely going to keep themselves sitting pretty on musical radar so I suggest you download their Loose Friends EP and jump on that bandwagon right now.