Some words about a band.
On a blustery December day in 2004, I turned in my last final of the semester and hopped in my car to make the three-hour drive to Baltimore. I poked around the city all day before turning up to a sold out show at the Ottobar—Motion City Soundtrack had come to town.
I liked the first band, All Time Low—one of the kids was celebrating his 16th birthday, which made me giggle a little because I felt so much older. Tsunami Bomb came on and I was entertained but not blown away. Then this band, The Academy Is…, took the stage. I really liked them a lot, and thought I better keep them on my radar. Then I got to see Limbeck, who I’d heard about for years but never listened to, and then MCS took the stage and we all danced.
I left that night with a Limbeck album, a TAI t-shirt (though for the life of me I don’t remember which), and a Fueled by Ramen sampler. I listened to that sampler the whole way home, and by the time I arrived back in Richmond, I knew the TAI songs word for word. I immediately logged on to Livejournal and joined their community, theacademyrock.
Six weeks later, by the time they opened for Something Corporate at 9:30 Club, The Academy Is… was my favorite band. I picked up The Academy EP that night, and by the next time I saw them they were sold out. There was all this hype about their debut album, which was coming out a week later, so every day on LJ I felt a little closer to them and their fans and this music. I also spent a lot of time on the TAI message boards, and then the LJ community kind of merged with another one, the official theacademyis comm, and here was this whole world of people who were on the same page as me—Crit and Fannie and Soma amongst them. And Diana, bless her, who I haven’t talked to in years.
I went to see them in April a couple times, in Norfolk where I brought them homemade cookies (and William signed my poster saying “Thanks for the cookies”) and then in DC, where I met Kathleen. Then June rolled around and I met Danielle, and Brittany and I put together fanny packs and there were silly string and water gun fights and our legs got so banged up on that tiny stage and I bought the grey shirt with blue writing with a deer on it. And Jenn came with me and we got home so late because we got lost and my car broke down and her grandmother was so mad.
Summer 05 was the headlining tour with PWTs and Spitalfield and Days Away, where I met Amsa I think. They played In Our Defense at Ottobar, and I still remember the joy of hearing that. Then that fall they played toured with All American Rejects and I fell in lurve with Tom Conrad outside of Tremont Hall in Charlotte, NC. Then we went to Belle Vernon to see them play at an ice rink on Kathleen’s birthday, and we became the VA Crew. We drove back through the night and I remember thinking 6 am looked a lot like 6 pm. I zombied through work, and a couple days later I was on a plane to Chicago to see them at Metro, maybe, with The Hush Sound, and Fall Out Boy played a surprise acoustic set before the show. I stayed at the Purple Hotel, and the whole front row was boardies there for a meet up—I met Jess for the first time.
So we’re in 2006 now, yes? Truckstops and State Lines. The Blizzard. Chad Powell. I flew out to Chicago in March for three shows, and met Sarah and Phoebe. I think by this point I knew Kerri, Krissi, Abbey as well…maybe Bryanna. That summer I went to several Warped dates in Ohio/Penn/DC/VA. I am pretty sure this is when I met Maggie, who I knew through the PWTs board, but we met while chatting with Butcher at the TAI booth. I skipped Pete Yorn in Richmond, I remember, because my car was broken down and I was riding with Kathleen and Amsa. At one point on the way home I was asleep in the backseat dreaming that the center of the road was lined with merch tents. And then we went to Ohio and they didn’t show up, but we got to basically say hi to a bunch of people I loved.
Then Tom got kicked out and I raged/cried about how I didn’t get to say goodbye.
At some point in ‘06 we lost Leah, who I had kind of forgotten about. Drama. We went to Boston then, I think, and TAI shared a stage with Secret Machines and Nada Surf, and we sang Happy Birthday to Tom at midnight. I got all up in arms about how I was outgrowing TAI and I felt like it was an abusive relationship lol. Then we went to the Woodies. Then came MGC and I was all NINE.
Then in 2007 came Santi, and NYC and fucking Catchphrase, and then Jess and I were like “Hey let’s go to England!” So we did. And I met the UK Crew. That whole trip still makes me giddy to think of. I didn’t go to the release show in Chicago but I did go to NYC again a couple weeks later, and TCNJ. Then that summer I moved to Chicago (and met Dawn), which was excellent, and I still wonder where 2007 me went because she was fearless! Jess and I wandered around the midwest for Sleeping With Giants for a few days that fall, and I decided to move back home basically to keep touring and hang out with my friends. Cobra Starship took over that tour. At some point in ‘07 I think there was another TRL, with A7X ha, and then that fall was the Woodies and they won and they pointed at me and Jess and Kathleen freaking OUT in the crowd as they said thank you.
Innnn 2008 Empires started touring and Tom Conrad remembered me after two years, and I was smitten all over again. I think also in 2008, but possibly in ‘09, Natalie and Amy came over for some shows…but it had to be ‘08 because isn’t that when I really started hanging out with Lacey? And she knew them then. On the Carolina Liar tour. Also it was definitely 08 because I went to New Orleans then and I should have just gone to 3 Warped dates instead.
Apparently 2008 was a quiet year, because I’m already in 2009 where they played in Richmond for the first time since I started listening to them—at Hot Topic. It was great. Then an acoustic show at Jammin Java and we got to hang out on the bus. Then in April, Lacey and I met up in Tennessee and had giggle fits over Christian Bale and Bill blew us a kiss at the end of the show—the VA Crew had three reps in three nights in three different cities. A couple days later we decided to go to Pitt, which was the night of a thousand laughs. Barbies and too much alcohol and a group picture minus Kathleen. And then on Halloween I had wayyy too much to drink and I made out with a boy while dressed as an Indian. Then in November Jess and I met up at Bucknell and snuck into the show without student IDs, and Butcher told us about The Animal Upstairs.
2010 was the Almost Here anniversary show, then the KISS tour. My last LJ post tagged “The Academy Is” (you didn’t think I remembered all this off the top of my head, did you?) was November 23, 2009. Then I went out to Chicago to see an acoustic show in December.
I don’t recall seeing them in 2011, until last month when I got together with nearly all of the VA Crew to see them play Almost Here at FBR15. I am SO GLAD I went to the meet and greet, and so sorry we didn’t know it was the last show. Basically, to say this band changed my life is laughably understating the issue. So much of the past seven years has been about that band, or with people I met because of them, and that is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. I mean, honestly, most of the people who will read this are people I know because of The Academy Is…, and I am so grateful to have you in my life. Thanks to all of you & to those boys for making me who I am now, for the 70-odd shows wherein they waved or smiled or hugged me or thanked me for coming as if I was the one doing them a favor. You’re the best.