The Academy Is… @ Starland Ballroom

The Academy IsSAYREVILLE, NJ—Anyone who says that boy bands are a thing of the past is misinformed. They are still alive and well, and the only difference from those of a few years ago is that groups of today are actually bands. Filling out the “Sleeping With Giants” tour were The Academy Is…, Armor For Sleep, Rocket Summer and Sherwood. Already you can tell this was a tour for the indie pop lovers.

Inside the Starland Ballroom that evening was a mass of teenage girls, cameras in hand and ready to push their way to the barricade. Cobra Starship had been added to the lineup as a special guest, only their performance happened soon after doors opened, which was in the midst of rush hour traffic. Needless to say, I missed hearing tracks off the new album by Cobra Starship that evening. They must have brought the electro to this tour, while the next two groups represented a more wholesome, organic sound.

There was an almost too sweet nature about Sherwood and The Rocket Summer, but this was pop music as an art form. What impressed me was the response from the crowd for The Rocket Summer. Upon further research, I found that this band features the talents of musician Bryce Avary, who rocked away on his piano for the set. While he does write and perform all instrument parts for his albums, on tour he had accompanying musicians.

The Rocket Summer had the whole floor moving and swaying along to each song, making it impossible to move about from one side of the room to the next. Once over, fans wearing Armor For Sleep shirts made their way from the bar areas down to the main floor.

Their new album, Smile For Them, was set for release that following Tuesday and they played a few songs from it in their set. Going in, I thought that Armor For Sleep had more of a slow tempo catalog, but I was proved wrong. They gave an energetic performance full of upbeat songs, musically, that is because their lyrics can hit a somewhat darker, deeper note, and the audience was completely enthralled.

To close the night, The Academy Is… took the stage and it wasn’t long before lead singer William Beckett was parading around on stage with his v-neck shirt and skintight pants. They hit full force with hits from their two full-length albums, Almost Here and Santi, and delivered just the right tracks in between to satisfy the crowd.

The “Sleeping With Giants” tour was a guilty pleasure for anyone who wished to dance along with catchy, upbeat tunes and see the youth of today pine away for the musicians on stage. Each band delivered great pop music and each was different in their own way, providing a little something for everybody.