Waterparks set out on their first headlining tour on February 9th, 2017 in Dallas, Texas, their home state. Bringing with them, Too Close To Touch and CREEPER, they made their way up the northwest to a sold out show in Portland, Oregon on February 18th at the Analog Theater.
Kicking off the night we have 6-piece Southampton band, CREEPER naturally dressed in all black attire. They file onto the stage, matching back patches and all, and jump right into their first song. Without any delay, their infectious presence captivates the room. After flying out to the US to join the tour in Anaheim, CREEPER’s van broke down and were unable to make it to the Seattle date, only a few days into their run. Fortunately, they made it to Portland on time, and safely, with a new energy after not having been able to play the night before. They fly through new singles, “Hiding With Boys” and “Suzanne,” both of which have quickly become crowd favorites. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this band since I first stumbled across their melancholic closing track, “Misery,” late last year. It was the perfect way to end their rowdy set. The crowd clinging onto the final notes, before breaking out in a well-deserved applause. Their debut album, Eternity, In Your Arms comes out March 24th on RoadRunner Records. Definitely keep your eyes out, this band is progressing at an impressive rate and you will be seeing much more of them in the near future.
This was my first impression of Too Close To Touch, as a whole experience. I find it so intriguing to go into a set not knowing anything about a band or any of their songs and witnessing every element unfold. They had the room’s attention right from the very beginning. I was pleasantly surprised with how many people were singing along. Keaton Pierce’s voice cascaded beautifully in the confines of the venue. They played a heavy amount of new songs from their latest release Haven’t Been Myself, including “What I Wish I Could Forget” and “Crooked Smile.” They didn’t hold back on playing through a handful of songs from their debut album, Nerve Endings, as well. Lining their voices with Pierce’s, the crowd sang louder than ever on fan favorite, “Pretty Little Thing.” Too Close To Touch didn’t add much commentary between songs, which added a smooth feel to their already cohesive set. As the set was coming nearer to finished, Pierce announced the final song would be “Eiley.” This sorrowing song to end their strong set was merely a paradoxical foreshadow to how exuberant the next set was about to be.
The first time I saw Waterparks, they were opening for Never Shout Never and Metro Station in early 2016. When I got to that show, there was a line around the block and Waterparks began playing before the line even died down. I’ll always be a little bitter about missing Crave that day because of it. Fast forward a little over a year later, Waterparks have sold out several shows on their first ever headlining tour, and now have their own lines wrapping around blocks. The excitement from the Waterparks trio is clear right off the bat. Awsten Knight (Vocals/Guitar) graces the stage wearing a tiara and a blue star wand to match. With a quick hello and a little friendly crowd banter, Knight tells the crowd to split down the center and motions so with his toy wand. Once the crowd opens up, they transition straight into “Made In America” and the crowd erupts.
As they power through the next cluster of songs, the excitement refuses to die down. Jumping, shouting, singing, even crowd-surfing ensues. At some point, a bottle of orange juice makes its way to the stage, accepted graciously by Knight, who often posts about his affection for the beverage online. There is no barricade at this venue, which makes the connection between the crowd and band seemingly cohesive. Every word is being sung back in time and with just as much passion. As crowd favorite, “Mad All The Time” fades out, an acoustic guitar is brought on stage and everyone bursts out in cheers, already anticipating what’s coming next. Geoff Wigington (Guitar/Vocals) and Otto Wood (Drums) step off-stage, leaving the blue-haired frontman to introduce the next song. The audience laughs encouragingly as he shakes off his nerves and invites everyone to sing along with him. The room blossoms with arms swaying back and forth and phone lights popping up all over. “21 Questions” is the song I happen to know the least, but it is the most hyped I’ve heard about from fans. Being able to experience this special moment with fresh eyes and ears, however, was incredible.
The set began to wind down now. Throwing it back to their 2014 release, Blacklight, the full band is back onstage and “I’m A Natural Blue” takes shape. Seeing how much they’ve progressed in the short year since I saw them last has been really inspiring. I always love seeing bands who love what they do and the music they make. Their stage presence is always so fun, and the way they interact with their fans is friendly and comfortable. The two final tracks, “Dizzy” and “Royal” are both from their debut album, Double Dare, released in November 2016. From here, they said their thank you’s and announced they’d be hanging out at merch after their set. Ending the night with “Royal” was the perfect vibe. I am always impressed with Waterparks every time they come to town, and I am already looking forward to seeing them open for All Time Low this summer.
Tickets to all upcoming Waterparks shows, including the All Time Low tour, can be found here!