Best Music Poll 2006 recap: The Academy Is, Charlatans UK

All photos (c) Carina Mastrocola

(First in a series of shitloads of photos and maybe even some words from last night's Phoenix/FNX Best Music Poll party.)

Brit Pop and Pop Punk don't have a lot in common, and Charlatans UK and The Academy Is... didn't get any closer by playing on the same street during last night's Best Msic Poll extravaganza. Aside from having to change their names at some point in their respective careers to avoid lawsuits -- the Charlatans added the UK to distinguish themselves from the American Charlatans; the Academy added the "Is..." for similar reasons -- the correlation between the two bands is effectively nil. The Brits' set came first, closing down the outdoors stage on Lansdowne, and they took their signature reggae/dub-pop/textured sound to the streets. Even with a semi-shoegaze attitude -- three-fifths of the band were wearing jackets and didn't break a sweat -- they delighted the crowd by playing the Simpatico hits "For Your Entertainment" and "Blackened Blue Eyes." A lot of their earlier stuff showed up in the latter part of the set, and the contingent of older fans cheered loudest during those songs. Aberdeen City at Axis -- make that Aberdeen Fucking City, they rocked -- and Nada Surf at Avalon (yes they played "Popular," yes it rocked) served as pallete cleansers before I caught the Academy Is. Their sunny music and distorted guitars were a far cry from the subdued and somewhat dour Brit Pop jangle of a few hours earlier. The difference was also in the crowd: the Avalon floor was packed with about 856,982 chicks and one dude, all younger peeps. William Beckett had them eating out of his palm right away, prancing about the stage while the poppy power chords of "Attention" and "Classifieds" swirled beneath his crisp, high-pitched vocals. But the overall teeny-bopper atmosphere trumped the loud music, making things unbearable after about six songs. And punk music without screamed vocals or an element of anger/hatred is just plain wrong, even if it gets the chicks.

-- David Boffa

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