Tales from the Tour: William Beckett

Category:  The Arts
Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 12:32 PM
Tales from the Tour: William Beckett by Kimberly Firestine

One of my favorite artists to see live is William Beckett, former frontman of now-deceased alternative band The Academy Is.... While his shows don’t exactly pull crowds in by the thousands, the intimacy of just him on stage with his acoustic guitar, his Mac (or band-in-a-box, as he calls it) and the occasional dad joke provide more than enough substance for a great show. I’ve never had a bad experience at any of his shows until I decided to make a trip with a couple of friends to see him open for Jonny Craig (of Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, Isles & Glaciers and Slaves). Sidenote: The bad experience has nothing to do with Beckett himself. He is nothing short of a gem and I always love getting to see and chat with him.

In 2013, Craig’s solo headlining tour consisted of Beckett, rapper Kyle Lucas and alternative bands Hands & Houses and Bleach Blonde. Going into the show, I didn’t know what to expect. I never listened to Jonny Craig or any of the bands he was in and I had never heard of any of the other artists on the bill. I was there to be with friends and watch Beckett play and that was all.

Upon driving down to New York City with my friends Brenda and Bridget, we met up with some of my other friends, Angie and Brittany, and waited in line for doors about an hour before they were scheduled to open. It wasn’t at all surprising to run into Beckett as he meandered down the street in front of the Highline Ballroom entrance. He talked to a few of us in line and then headed in for sound check, as he normally does before shows. When we got inside we grabbed a table and Angie, Brittany and I grabbed our spots in the crowd before the room filled and the show started.

If I’m completely honest, I don’t remember much about the first two bands. I even had to do a Google search to make sure I remembered their names correctly, but I digress. The only non-Beckett set I have any memory of is an incident that occurred during Kyle Lucas’ set before Beckett was to take the stage.

Whenever I go to shows, regardless of whether or not I know the opener(s), I always make sure to give every artist my full attention. I stand (or sit) and give them the respect they deserve for coming out to whatever city I’m in and sacrificing their private lives to make a living doing what they love. I don’t stand there on my phone lurking through Facebook or playing Candy Crush. I’m either getting a photo or two or trying not to let my resting “angry” face make it seem like I’m not enjoying my time. This show was no different.

I’ve never had an artist have an issue with a group of kids standing there respectfully during their set until Kyle Lucas was performing. No, we were not with the scattered groups of kids going crazy during his performance. No, we did not know any words to his songs. We were literally just standing there, trying to be as respectful as possible. It wasn’t apparent there was an issue until Lucas said he wanted to meet everyone in the room at his merch table after his set “except for these [explitive]s up front who don’t care about my music.”

He continued, saying, “I don’t want to meet any of you,” while using his finger to draw a circle around a few people, including Angie, Brittany and me. After the set, Angie had tweeted something describing how incredibly rude he had been (not tagging him in the tweet) and he found the tweet and encouraged his fans to attack her via the Internet.

To this day, I am astonished something like that happened. I had been to so many shows before this and had never felt so attacked or disrespected by anyone, let alone by one of the artists performing. I was, and still am, dumbfounded at the incident. We were all so confused at the amount of rage put on display by someone who we paid to see.

Because Beckett was next on the bill, we stuck around in the crowd just long enough to watch his set. When it was over, Angie, Brittany and I went back to our table, had dinner with Brenda and Bridget and watched Johnny Craig’s set from our seats. When it was all said and done, we waited to chat with Beckett, stopped for pizza at a nearby restaurant and headed back to our hotel in Jersey.

Combine Lucas’s actions with the extremely offensive and sexist lyrics of his songs (See: his song “Housewife” where he raps “I need a housewife to clean and a mistress on my team/I bring that bread home/It’s the American dream”) and you can guarantee that I will never put money towards anything with his name involved ever again. I love you, Becks, but there’s a line and Kyle Lucas took a NYC taxi to the 14th Street station, jumped on the N train and crossed it all the way into Astoria.

Kimberly Firestine is a Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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