Things Come Full Circle as Waterparks Arrive Back Home

Waterparks returned to where it all started for the band.
Waterparks returned to where it all started for the band. Photo by Cory Garcia
Warehouse Live
December 12, 2K18

“This is the most important venue in the world to us.” Those words — or something close to them at least — come from Waterparks frontman Awsten Knight, standing on stage in the big room at Warehouse Live. He explained how the band had played their first show in the green room of the same venue, then played album release shows after that. And now they were back, playing their biggest headlining show of their career in the same venue where things all started.

“Tangible progress,” he followed up.

Playing your biggest show in your hometown is not a bad way to cap off a headlining tour that sold out multiple venues across the country, and to cap off a year seeing them as part of the final Warped Tour and the release of a CD that saw them avoiding a sophomore slump. Pop-punk might not be the coolest genre around, but Waterparks are one of our best, most exciting exports right now.

It’s incredible how much they’ve grown over the past two years. Yes, there’s still a sense of humor that disarms and delights, but Knight seems to have a much better command of the stage, and he moves around it like he has more energy than he can handle. They’ve built quite the audience, and those big hooks sound even better with a loud crowd doing their thing to add to songs like “Royal” and “21 Questions.” They’re really the band I’d most like to see with maybe two or more members so that Knight could shed the guitar and go all in as a pop frontman.

With ample lighting, CO2 blasts and a confetti cannon, Waterparks come off as big league. They’re just missing that one great song that crosses them over to more mainstream audiences. Yeah, you can see them opening for the Panic at the Discos of the world, but I could just as easily see them with the Keshas of the world too with the right song. If this was a television show, this concert would be like the season one finale. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next for the band.

So, How Were the Openers?: Super Whatevr is legit amazing. Musically their songs are really solid with some great melodies, but it’s their charisma that really makes them shine; their energy and excitement is infectious and makes you want to root for them even if you’ve never heard of them before. Skyler McKee gave a really great speech about mental health and I’ll probably love him forever based on that. There was something charming about I Don’t Know How But They Found Me; I enjoyed the meta-decision to opener their set with “Nobody Likes The Opening Band.” Their sound is fine, but I think I would have enjoyed a slightly tighter, more compact set.

Personal Bias: I’m more Double Dare than Entertainment — “21 Questions” is one of the best songs by a Houston band ever — but I respect what they’re doing in regards to evolving their sound without feeling like a completely different band. I will likely always root for Waterparks.

The Crowd: Had done its homework, and had all of the lyrics down pat. Lots of people buying multiple shirts. More than a few people who looked like maybe they were just there to support some kids they knew.

Overheard in the Crowd: “This reminds me of the Monkees graphics,” my plus one pointed out, late in the show, about the effects used as part of the band’s backdrop. Boy bands who play their own instruments are the best.

Random Notebook Dump: I find the fetishization of the circle pit to be very weird. What makes circle pits special when compared to regular mosh pits is how they come together magically as a group of individuals deciding “Hey, we’re doing this.” Asking people to pull of a circle pit is just kind of silly; ask people to clap or move their arms back and forth, but don’t tell them how to mosh unless you’re setting up a wall of death.
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Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia