October 30, 2008 – Storming the stage in a blisteringly energetic performance that that had the floor buzzing from the opening bars until the last, The Academy Is… threw down for 75 minutes as if to say one thing: if you've saving something for the encore, you're doing it all wrong.
The ever-electric William Beckett led the charge with an impressively gymnastic display of showmanship, bringing an encyclopedic exhibition of rock star moves to set with flawless execution. The singer dominated the mic stand, flipping it around the stage like a pencil, all while hitting his vocal cues with effortless grace.
On Beckett's right, Michael Guy Chislett rocked his Fender and Gretsch guitars with pure finesse, while Michael Carden on the left brought up the other half of the twin-guitar assault, with a small army of effects pedals between them.
At the back of the stage, Adam Siska on bass and Andy “The Butcher” Mrotek on drums brought up the rhythm section, propelling the band's tight, bouncing sound throughout the set.
When Beckett let the mic drop for the first time, it was also the last, followed by a sincere thank you to the audience and a quick exit off-stage. The Academy Is… would not be coming back – their job was done; there was nothing left to give.
Closing out Rocktober in style, The Academy Is… performed with support from We The Kings, Hey Monday, and Carolina Liar. The band is currently touring for their third studio album, Fast Times at Barrington High, which was released in August of this year.
Even seeing The Academy Is.. at Warped Tour earlier this year didn't fully prepare me for the spectacle that was going to take place on stage during.
At the risk of sounding like a 13-year old girl, William Beckett is pretty damn magnetic on stage, and it took every ounce of strength to point my D3 at something else during TAI's set. From the singer's acrobatics with his microphone and mic stand to his agility on stage, Beckett is the kind of subject that captivates audiences and photographers alike.
Luckily for me, the rest of the band was equally bad ass in all their respective parts. I found Michael Guy Chislett's performance stage right particularly fun to photograph, as the guitarist frequently went up to the edge of the stage to rock out.
Of course, all this action on stage also made for a good challenge. Beckett was basically bouncing from floor to ceiling from start to finish, ever the moving target.
For lighting, I had the stage effects to work with as well as three speedlights, which added a bit more consistency and reliability to the set. Once again, the Nikon SB-900 was a great commander unit and made changing the power of the remotes a breeze.
Big thanks to the band's tour manager, Tony, for helping get everything set up, as well as to Brock with regards to the flash. Also, a shout out to Jack the Camera Guy, a fine individual, TAITV mastermind, and fellow Nikon shooter. We rocked the CLS.
Last but not least, a big hats off the the guys. Respect for such a tight set. I'm with you – multi-minute standing-ovations aside, encores mean you didn't sweat enough while you had the proper chance.