Kendall comes alive for pop-punk show

The Nor’easter couldn’t keep pop-punk/emo band The Academy Is. from rocking out Kendall Hall Monday night in a concert sponsored by the College Union Board (CUB) and organized by CUB event coordinator Steven Hunt. The band performed along with piano-rock group Copeland and CUB’s Battle of the Bands winner, The Embassy.

The majority of the songs The Academy Is. played are featured on its debut album “Almost Here,” including crowd favorites “Black Mamba,” a song featured in the movie “Snakes on a Plane,” and “Checkmarks,” the band’s first single off the album.

After releasing “Almost Here” in 2005, the band gained a loyal fan base by touring with such bands as Fall Out Boy, Something Corporate and Less Than Jake before headlining its own tour with Panic! at the Disco last year.

The Academy Is. introduced the audience to songs off its newly released sophomore album “Santi.” The audience sang along even through the new songs, with a noticeable rise in excitement for the band’s latest single, “We’ve Got a Big Mess on Our Hands.”

“After tonight, that’s definitely my favorite song to perform live,” drummer Andy “the butcher” Mrotek said. “There was such energy from the crowd.”

According to Mrotek, “Santi” displays a more mature sound than the band’s first album, and he attributes this maturation to inspiration from older bands.

“We’ve definitely gotten more influence from bands like The Clash for this album,” Mrotek said.

The band has graduated from its old pop-punk sensibilities, making for a more traditional rock & roll feel, which was obvious in the band’s performance.

After about a 45-minute set that was balanced between old and new, the band members left the stage. However, the crowd couldn’t get enough of the band, chanting for an encore. The calls of “one more song” brought the band back on-stage for just that.

“Thank you so much,” lead singer William Beckett said to the audience. “This definitely wasn’t expected.” The encore song, “Attention,” is one of the first songs the band released. Beckett expressed surprise and appreciation for the number of audience members who knew the track, turning the encore into a sing-along when he pointed his mic to the crowd.

Supporting act Copeland warmed the crowd up before The Academy Is., playing some of the group’s older songs and tracks from its latest album, “Eat, Sleep, Repeat.”

Lead singer Aaron Marsh brought audience members to their feet while performing the band’s latest single, “Control Freak.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about people sitting at a rock concert,” Marsh said to the audience, planted firmly in their seats. “Stand up!”

Marsh used his voice, a piano and a guitar interchangeably to create the poignant and aching melodies for which Copeland has become known. Though the band is most widely known for its subdued sound, the members surprised the crowd with a high-energy set and an upbeat stage presence.

The Embassy opened the concert by performing what lead singer and senior secondary education/English major Matt Morone called “good old-fashioned rock & roll songs.” The band, which includes two seniors and two alumni, announced that the performance would be the “last (College) concert.”

The Embassy was treated with plenty of support from fellow students in the crowd, and each member got shout-outs from friends and family in the audience.

After the show, The Academy Is. sat down for a meet-and-greet, where the members signed autographs, posed for pictures and talked with fans for over an hour. Starting next month, the band will go out on the road again, performing on the Honda Civic Tour with Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes.

Copeland is currently on a headlining tour in the United States until mid-May and will be opening for Anberlin overseas starting at the end of May.

“All three bands were excellent,” Mike Kelley, junior philosophy major, said. “But Copeland was definitely my favorite.” Kelley also said “the intermissions could have been shorter, but other than that, I think the Kendall Hall crew did a great job and made it possible for the bands to have such a great show.”

– Additional reporting by James Queally and Allison Singer