Photo By: Anna Drabik
After being obsessed with rising pop-punk band Waterparks for nearly a year; there wasn’t anywhere else I would have preferred to spend my Wednesday night than at their concert.
After leaving later than we planned and eating two gourmet Market Basket sandwiches for dinner in the car, my dad and I ran from the car to Boston’s Paradise Rock Club. Well, I was running, and my dad was speed-walking.
Since we arrived an hour after the doors opened, we missed the line for admission. We quickly got through security and then secured a spot in the crowd.
Pop-punk band Sleep On It, one of three openers, began the night. Sleep On It was followed by Chapel, and then pop-punk band As It Is. Chapel was easily my favorite of the three, and As It Is the least. By the time As It Is were on stage, I was more than ready for the headliner, Waterparks.
When I made a not-so-subtle remark for Waterparks to “get the show on the road,” the two girls in front of me turned around, and informed me that Waterparks wouldn’t go on until 9 P.M. We held a conversation about music for a few minutes, and it made the minutes before Waterparks came on go by much faster.
Before the lights could dim, drummer Otto Wood of Waterparks bounced onto the stage. As the distorted electronic sounds of “Plum Island” began, guitarist and backing vocalist Geoff Wigington came out. The sounds continued as guitarist and lead vocalist Awsten Knight entered the stage. Knight yelled, “BOSTON!” before he sung the first lyric of “Plum Island”, and the crowd went wild.
As the crowd passed a bouquet of roses up to the stage after “Plum Island,” Knight laughed. “Aww, you got me roses?”
“You know, I really want that Kerrang! Tweeter award,” Knight said. The crowd cheered. “Okay, this song is called ‘Crave.’”
Waterparks continued through their set with quick transitions between songs. After a request from the audience to play “Little Violence”, Waterparks performed a fake acoustic version of “Little Violence”.
“This is the nice acoustic version,” said Knight. “This is the Kidz Bop version.” Knight took a seat on Wood’s drum. “I’ve got a big bucket list, but here’s the thing: I don’t like talking about it publicly in case we don’t reach those goals because, then, it’s like, I’m publicly a failure.” The crowd laughed. “I want to tell you one of my goals, and I’ve been pushing for it for a while now, actually. I really want us to be on Kidz Bop.” The crowd cheered.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but I presented management with it like a week ago, and, management was like: oh, we know the people that make that. Like, let’s see what we can do [for the new album, Entertainment]. So, Waterparks Kidz Bop 2018 is a very real possibility! You’re all going to buy that one, right?” The crowd cheered. “Alright, good, good. I’m glad we had this talk. Okay, this song is called ‘Dizzy’.”
Waterparks ended their setlist with “Royal”, third single from first album Double Dare.
When Knight returned for the encore, he carried an acoustic guitar rather than electric. “You haven’t let me down yet,” Knight said, strumming his guitar. As he began to play an acoustic version of “Powerless”, he said, “let’s do this.”
The moments when he let the crowd sing by themselves, especially the pre-chorus, were heartbreaking. Knight wrote the song about Ciara Hanna, his ex-girlfriend who cheated on him, so I imagine it was very tough to play the song night-after-night during tour. Despite the title of “Powerless”, the song couldn’t have been any more powerful in its incredible lyrics and Knight’s voice struggling to sing, completely overcome with emotion.
“This song is called ‘21 Questions’.” The crowd cheered as Knight began to play “21 Questions”, also written about Hanna. During the final pre-chorus, Wood reappeared. When Knight extends a note, Wigington reappeared As they play the final chorus, the screen behind them displayed flowers falling.
“Prepare. You have seven seconds. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, this song’s called ‘Easter Egg,’” said Knight. As they played “Easter Egg,” the screen behind them displayed a countdown clock and the words, “THIS IS NEVER HAPPENING AGAIN!!!”
“Uh-oh,” said Knight. “Time-out, time-out. Otto, Otto. Stop. Yo, what up, is someone hurt?” Wigington, Knight, and Wood faced the crowd as they looked to see what was happening. “Yo, everyone back up away from the person.”
As I learned later, it was at that point in the concert that someone had a seizure in the midst of the craziness of crowd-surfing and circle pits. The entire crowd was silent for a good ten minutes while waiting for the announcement that everything was okay.
“Everything they did was exactly right,” Knight said. “If that ever happens again, do the same thing they did, okay?” Knight gave the crowd a thumbs-up. “We’re still gonna get that Boston energy, right?” The crowd cheered. “You sure?” The crowd cheered again. “This one’s called ‘I’m a Natural Blue.’ Thank you so much for coming out.”
And with that, the show came to a close and I realized how grateful I was for Waterparks. Not only do they create amazing music, they’re also incredible people who really care for their fans. Some musicians would have continued the show without even glancing in the direction of those who were injured, but that’s just not Waterparks.
“Boston, thank you so much for coming out,” Knight yelled, reaching his arm out for the crowd to hold. “We’ll see you in the future, I promise!”