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Iveagh Gardens

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By Kate Brayden

The Academic have turned more than their fair share of heads in 2018.

The Westmeath indie rockers have toured with some massive names, released their debut album Tales From The Backseat to critical acclaim, and have played some of their biggest gigs to date.

We had a chat with Craig Fitzgerald, lead vocalist and guitar player from the band, to ask him about their fanbase, plans for 2019 and exactly how they capture that infectious energy on stage.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The four-piece band have an undeniably dedicated fanbase, clearly responding to lyrics lamenting youth and everything else that comes along with it.

The group is comprised of Fitzgerald, Matthew Murtagh on guitar, Stephen Murtagh playing bass and Dean Gavin on the drumkit, and they are all in their early twenties.

Tales From The Backseat is a hugely impressive debut, and features some of the catchiest songs around right now.

Choosing tracks for the anticipated first album appears to have been a careful affair, the boys recorded most of it in North Hollywood with music veteran Tim Pagnotta.

It's no surprise that the musical offering flew to the top of the charts on home soil.

The boys make music with big pop choruses and indie lyrics, and if you're hearing their songs for the first time, you'll know every word by the time the track concludes.

The lead vocalist and his bandmates have a clear talent for writing music which garner a youthful audience, but does he feel the fans will grow alongside the group?

"I definitely think so. In the first album, there were songs from when we were young, so it made sense. The songs seemed to resonate with younger people. We would like to mature our sound, and that would hopefully intertwine with the fans getting older." 

They've clearly figured out how to find comfort on stage, effortlessly show-casing their extensive touring experience.

Craig describes the special ability of their fans to relate their own adolescence with that of the boys' through his lyrics;

"When we go on tour, we do a lot of meeting the fans, we like to go to the merch table and we like to hear what they thought and we get to say hello," he says.

"A lot of the time what amazes me is that the songs are just stories that were specific to me as a teenager, but it’s amazing how someone can adapt the story to something that they’re going through."

From tales of fake ID's on nights out, to the turbulent relationships and friendships which parallel adolescence, The Academic paint a relatable picture of the unique energy of that time in a person's life.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It's immediately obvious when you see the band play live that they value their fans' enjoyment of music, and nerves are a thing of the past.

The band met while still in school, and began gigging once they secured their drummer Dean.

Roughly five years later, the lads are essentially pros at what they do, but touring outside of Ireland can be a game-changer for any group or musician.

"When we started and we were playing shows, you begin shy and just want to make sure that you get up and play well," the 24-year-old cites about their initial shows.

"We’ve been given so many great opportunities to go on long tours, like month long tours in the States and Europe and the UK, and I think particularly when you support so many bands over the last couple of years we’ve become so comfortable as musicians together," he added.

"Even more so than when we were just in a shed playing together. I definitely think you lose that scared feeling that you had, because you just have to get up in front of people and play."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The band have learned some valuable lessons on the road, from song-writing to making friends in high musical places, to general tips on how to command a stage. They keep one important thing in mind in particular;

"That’s one thing I think we’ve learned in the past year, is that if we’re not afraid, people won’t be afraid, and they’ll have a good time with us. When we toured with The Kooks, we just kind of watched them and loved how they were just having fun on stage and it wasn’t too serious."

"One thing that I always try to do when I go on stage, is to break down the wall and say let’s not be afraid to make a fool of ourselves."

"The whole thing is crazy, like the fact that people are staring at you playing music. They drop their barrier when they see you having fun."

Confirmed; we stared, we dropped our barrier, we had fun. Then we bought the t-shirt…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The lads give a lot of time to their fans, and are both aware and respectful of how powerful a fan's love of music can be;

"We appreciate everyone for all their weird and wacky stuff. Music makes them feel a certain way and we appreciate that no matter what it is or whatever song it was that made them attached to us."

Despite their youthful tracklist, high-energy set and the fact that they've only released their debut album this year, the lads have been penning tunes since they were in their mid-teens.

Craig reminisces on the tricks and tips of the trade which his years of the music industry has taught him;

"I’ve been writings since the age of about 15/16, and a lot of those songs are actually on the first album.I think in the beginning, so it’s five years now of song-writing experience, there’s a naivety and you’re not afraid to do anything. Then you start picking up tricks," he muses.

"The one thing I have learned now that we’ve been a band for so long, is that I always want the music to be catchy. One thing I’ve learned is that if it’s catchy, don’t be afraid of it."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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For a band who are considered new to mainstream audiences, they have a level of maturity worth noting, especially when it comes to songwriting;

"That’s what people want to come and see, they want to sing along. You shouldn’t lose your innocence about song-writing, you can still think of crazy things and put them in," the vocalist says.

"The beauty is in the imagination, use it, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. It’s very important."

When we asked Craig where he would be if The Academic was never formed, his answer remains musical, unsurprisingly.

"Maybe I would have finished college. I went to BIMM, so I would probably work in a musician’s field. Probably in the studio, that was nearly just as strong as songwriting for me. I enjoyed playing with bands too much, so I made that decision." Thank God he did, for our sakes at least.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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After catching their big break after releasing Different from their first EP, radio stations took notice, and it all took off from there. The rest was indie-pop history, but do the lads ever disagree with each other?

You know us, we live for some drama…

"We’re not on the same page all the time (laughs). We usually are in sync when we know a song is good. If a song is obviously screaming out ‘Hey, I’m a good song’, we’re all on board. If there’s a more moody song or more emotional song, that’s when you can have arguments."

"We’ve always written songs together and made sure that everyone’s happy. We’d never really go ahead with a song if one member wasn’t fully happy." Creating absolute bangers and remaining diplomatic? Fair play boys.

We also wanted to know if there's a band out there that Craig would join, you know, if The Academic didn't exist of course. Which would be tragic.

"That’s a really good question, I’ve never been asked that before. We have a band on tour with us as support called Inhaler."

"The reason I enjoyed that band is that it’s so nice watching them because they’re like us four years ago. I’d love to step back to where they are now, getting support slots, heading out and being brand new again. That would be fun. Or else Fleetwood Mac would be great."

If you're wondering what 2019 will bring for the boys, it's some exciting new shows and a return to the studio to nail down some of the material written on the road.

The band will be making a big return to Iveagh Gardens in July, one year on from their concert at the famous outdoor venue, with some brand new (as yet unrecorded) music.

"What I would say we’re really excited about at the moment, is that we haven’t had any studio time in about a year. We’ve been writing songs on the road but we haven’t gotten to play them at all."

In terms of their landmark moments, their most recent gigs remain their favourites;

"I’d have to say, I think we’re all pretty blown away by the weekend we’ve just had. Two Vicar Street gigs and a headliner in Limerick, it was three in a row and every night was brilliant. It got better every time. We’re all still on a high."

The Academic have made some incredible memories in 2018, but they're just getting started.

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If your Spotify playlist Wrap Up of 2018 didn't include Why Can't We Be Friends, Bear Claws, or Permanent Vacation – you are seriously missing out. 

Mullingar foursome The Academic have taken 2018 as their year, and this weekend will embark on two epic sold-out gig in Dublin's Vicar Street. 

However, if you're heartbroken over not getting a ticket, never fear. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The lads are returning this summer with a massive gig in Dublin's Iveagh Gardens.

The new gig is scheduled for July 19th, 2019.

Craig, Dean, Matt and Stephen have an insane talent for songwriting, so to see them performing their indie hits in person is an unmissable experience. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tickets for next summer's date go on sale tomorrow morning – and with the speed at which tickets for their previous gig have gone, you'd want to be quick. 

Tickets are available for €40,00 from Ticketmaster at 9am. 

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If Jagged Little Pill is still one of the most played albums in your music collection, then Christmas is about to come early for you.

Alanis Morissette, the woman behind one of the most iconic albums of the 90s, has today announced she will be taking to the stage in both Dublin and Cork next summer.

The Canadian musician will perform in the People's Republic at Live at the Marquee on July 4 next year before taking to the stage in Dublin's Iveagh Gardens the following day.

With 14 Canadian Juno Awards, 7 Grammy Awards, 14 Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and sales of over 60 million albums worldwide, Alanis is easily one of the most revered and celebrated artists of her generation.

If you want to see the woman herself play live, you need to bring your A-Game on Monday December 18 at 9am when tickets go on sale with Ticketmaster.

May the odds be ever in your favour, ladies.

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Olly Murs, who will be playing to an Irish crowd in the 3Arena this April, has given hope to fans who didn't manage to nab tickets for that particular gig by confirming he will be making a reappearance in Dublin this summer.

The Dance With Me Tonight singer is the latest act to be announced as part of the Live at the Iveagh Garden gig series this summer, and Irish fans are pretty pumped about it.

Taking to Twitter yesterday, the 32-year-old confirmed reports, writing: "Dublin New Summer Tour 2017 show added at The Iveagh Gardens."

Responding to the singer's announcement, one fan wrote: "I'll be seeing you 3rd of April in Dublin but I'll be getting tickets for this date as well so freaking excited can't wait."

"Exciting #Summertour2017 love the Iveagh Gardens venue! See you there Olly," added another.

Olly, who will take to the stage on Saturday July 8, will be joined in the series by Aslan, Belle &Sebastian and Future Islands.

If you want in on the action, you need to bring your A-game this Friday when tickets go on sale for a cool €60.

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After recently playing Vicar Street, Passenger has today announced that he will be returning to Dublin next summer.

The Let Her Go singer is set to take to the stage in the Iveagh Gardens on Sunday July 23, and we are totally pumped!

Tickets to the gig will go on sale Wednesday December 14 at 9am, so make sure you get in on the action.

Ladies, it's go-time.

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Our summer calendar is already filling up fast with plans for festivals, weddings and barbecues (yes, we're being highly optimistic about the weather), but one weekend we're keeping free is June 16 – 19.

Taste Of Dublin returns to the Iveagh Gardens for four days this summer, and it looks set to be quite the event.

Like last year, the gates will be open until 10.30pm on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so you can really soak up the last of the sun's rays while trying food from some of the capital's best restaurants. Plus, there are heaps of new hands-on demos and masterclasses on offer this year, like O'Briens' Wines tasting sessions.

This year's festival theme is 'Homecoming,' so expect lots of seriously tasty Irish food. 

There'll be live cooking demos…
Nevin Maguire, Kevin Dundon, Richard Corrigan and Kevin Thornton will all be cooking up a storm, as well as Anna Haugh, a former head chef for Gordon Ramsay; plus Cathal Armstrong who has cooked for Barack Obama among other big names.

…And you can get tips from the experts for FREE
If you're not content with sitting back and watching the masters at work, book yourself in to one of the free Electrolux Chefs Secrets masterclasses – interactive cookery demos where you'll get the chance to try your own hand at making each dish.

Plus, you can try a wine masterclass
For the 11th year running, O'Briens Wines will partner with the Taste Of Dublin crew – and this year they'll be offering wine tasting courses as well as selling drinks as usual.

Or just kick back with some bubbly
While normal ticket prices start at €15, you can nab a VIP ticket from €35, entitling you to fast track entry, access to the Champagne Taittinger VIP Suite, plus a complimentary glass of Champagne Taittinger or complimentary Taste Brew beer.

Here's all the ticket info
Advance tickets are currently on sale for €15 – €25 depending on the day and time slot, while VIP tickets run from €35 – €54. Tickets will also be available on the door each day. Child tickets are €12.50,  or €14 on the door, though under tens go free. You can book online here.

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For the last ten years the always-tantalising Taste Of Dublin festival has been a major date in all foodie diaries.

And this year the celebrations take place from this Thursday June 11 to Sunday June 14 in the Iveagh Gardens in the centre of Dublin.

As usual, there is a host of brilliant events lined up for the weekend, with everything from BBQ inspiration to a sushi master class being covered.

It’s not just celebrity chefs you can mingle with either: favoured famous folk such as Rozanna Purcell, Louis Walsh, Ryan Tubridy and Lorraine Keane have all indulged at the festival previously – so keep your eyes peeled for a well-known name.

If you like your A-listers with a little more culinary expertise, then the likes of Clodagh McKenna and Kevin Dundon might well suffice – though they're just two of the all-star chefs lined-up to attend.

 

And following a fairly awful May (we're calling it Mayember), here’s to hoping the weather stays dry because nothing says summer-time like a few drinks in the sunshine.

Don't forget that the Bulmers Bar is pairing up with the Old Spot gastropub for some delicious tastings, and that O’Brien’s is offering a “try before you buy” experience throughout the festival.

Caffeine-enthusiasts are in for a treat too as Nespresso will be on hand with a tasting lounge when you need that coffee fix. Seattle's Best Coffee will also be in attendance, so you'll be spoiled for choice.

If you really want indulge over the weekend then take advantage of JUST EAT’s exclusive waiter service. They line up for your food so you don’t have to. Bliss! Basically, it allows you to sit back and get on with eating all of the food. Which is what's important in life.

And while it’s technically part of the family fun zone, there’s also going to be a load of Minions running around on Saturday and Sunday. After all, who doesn’t want a selfie with a Minion?

Finally, the Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa is going to be scouting for some of the best-dressed attendees on Friday, so make sure your OOTD is on point if you want some incredible goodies.

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