The upstairs room of SWG3 in Glasgow fills up with a crowd anticipating Irish indie rock band The Academic’s sold out show as the sounds of dark rock tunes from fellow Irish singer-songwriter Wolff sets the mood. This was a pleasant if slow start to the evening, although a change of pace arrived as the next act, Marsicans, took to the stage. They commanded a lively and enthused crowd, performing guitar-led, cheery tunes reminiscent of Circa Waves and Vampire Weekend. The highlight of their set was “Too Good”; it was evident why this is their most popular song as they played a slowed-down intro into an energetic rendition of their hit to a bouncing audience.
The energy in the room only built up further as The Academic finally arrived onstage, hailed by the cheers of an adoring crowd as they opened with “Superlike”, a newer single but already a firm favourite among fans. The popularity of their older songs broke through however as they started up “Mixtape 2003”, arguably the highlight of their set and further punctuated by a stellar solo from bassist Stephen Murtagh, alongside “I Feel It Too.”
Almost embarrassed by the crowd’s enthusiasm, frontman Craig Fitzgerald appeared confused as a Seven Nation Army chant of “Oh, The Academic” started up, confessing that the band “didn’t expect anyone to show up tonight.” It’s clear he’s not putting on a fake-humble persona; his humility and endearingly awkward manner add to the down-to-earth and charismatic image the band have acquired, contributing to the friendliness and energy of the atmosphere.
Their performance of slower melodies, “Television” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” also managed to captivate the audience, proving their versatility and ability to create an emotional atmosphere. Whilst the more upbeat new release “Aftertaste” was enjoyable, the crowd clearly preferred the familiar hits, going absolutely mad for “Bear Claws”, the Strokes-influenced lead single from their first album. Supposedly the end of their set, chants of ‘one more song!’ took over the room and brought the band back out for their encore. The pace was halted with a dreamy love song, “Girlfriends”, under deep purple lights before closing with their biggest hit “Different” which brought a new euphoria to the warehouse venue, marking the end of an infectiously energetic gig.
Image: Anna Mougin