Nothing was flashy or ostentatious about this up-close-and-personal, intimate acoustic tour starring front-man turned solo artist William Beckett with special guest Jillette Johnson on 2013’s What Will Be Tour. Festivities kicked off at the Wire in Upland, California, with local bands, the Let Down, and the Motel Life, playing short sets with plenty of local fans out to support. Energy still rolling, the lovely Jillette Johnson took the stage and wowed the audience with her powerful vocal prowess combined with her delicate piano melodies. Tracks such as “Pauvre Coeur”, “When the Ship Goes Down,” and “Cameron”, a song about a young boy who likes to wear lipstick, are a breath of fresh air. One cannot deny her personable lyrics and ethereal, yet stirring and impassioned sound that are set to capture you, body and soul. Don’t be fooled by those big doe eyes and pouty lips, folks! This girl can wail and her live performance along with her new, debut EP, “Whiskey and Frosting” are enough to leave you hooked. Be sure to keep a lookout for more of Ms. Johnson in the future, her debut album “Water In a Whale”, is set to release June 25th.
After Ms. Johnson’s lovely performance, William Beckett began his set with “Compromising Me,” the empowering, mantric track that kick-started his solo career. During his set, Mr. Beckett performed tracks from his recently released trilogy of EPs as well as a few of the audience’s Academy Is… favorites. His solo performance boasts ever-familiar vocals set to tunes of his own design that have not lost their anthemic quality since the singer’s departure from The Academy Is…; songs like “Oh, Love!”, “Girl, You Should Have Been a Drummer”, “Dear Life,” and “Dig a Hole”, have a new flavor apart from any project Mr. Beckett has taken on thus far, yet the artist continues to produce a sound that is undeniably and wholly, William Beckett. Despite what may or may not have been an untimely end to the popular pop-punk band, Mr. Beckett surely does not disappoint and his solo work embodies a new era for the artist, confirming that the man still has plenty of tricks up sleeve.
It was a night filled with laughter and good tunes. Could anyone ask for more? Least to say, performers and audience alike undoubtedly had a “Great Night.”