Credit: Libby Roskrow
Camden Assembly, London
April 4 2017
Words: Jess Sharrock
Tuesday evening saw indie four-piece The Academic, fresh from wowing the crowds at SXSW in Texas, take to the stage of the Camden Assembly (formally The Barfly) in North London. Hailing from Mullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland, they seemed genuinely excited to be back in the capital to show us folk a good time with some fine Irish craic.
And that they have no trouble doing. Craig Fitzgerald, Dean Gavin and Murtagh brothers Matt and Stephen, took to the stage - lit throughout in polka dot effect lighting in changing hues of red, white and blue - for their sold-out gig on the London leg of their current run of shows, following well-received opening sets from supports Raffer and the incredible Luna Bay, to play host to a night of 11 songs, both the old familiars and the new.
Opening the set with ‘Permanent Vacation’, which quickly moved onto ‘Bite My Tongue’ and then the infectiously catchy ‘Chasers’ (taken from their 2015 EP 'Loose Friends'), they waste no time in pulling out the stops, upping the riff factor and getting the crowd onside. Frontman Craig Fitzgerald with unstoppable energy fires up the set with fan favourite ‘Mixtape 2003’, leaving the everyone without an excuse not to be dancing.
Credit: Amey Hellen
‘Northern Boy’, new song ‘I Feel It Too’ - a catchy piece of indie rock - and the snappy, hook-filled ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Thought I Told You’, before laying out the somewhat more emotional ‘Small Town Lovers’ and the number that first brought the band to attention, 'Bear Claws'.
Final song of the night is the tight and melodic ‘Different’, a rousing anthem that draws the set to a close, bringing the enthusiastic crowd once more to the front for dancing and singing along from beginning to end.
It is incredible to see such a reaction from a crowd for a pretty new band on the scene.
Their cheery, youthful energy makes you instantly feel good, along with an impressive, well thought out setlist that flows seamlessly from start to finish, and with their undeniable talent, it's not surprising they have built up a buzz and racked up millions of online streams.
With talk of an album release this year, it looks like it’s going to be a big year for this band.