Waterparks @ O2 Institute, 27th January 2020

Upon entering the packed O2 Institute in Birmingham on Monday evening you could be confused for thinking you have entered the wrong venue, due to being greeted with a rapper on stage.

At a pop punk show. Certainly not!

But this highlights just how the evening’s headliners, Waterparks, appeal to a modern audience with a distinct lack of genre barriers and eyes outside of the scene they may at times find themselves pigeonholed in.

That rapper was De’Wayne Jackson, and from the short part of his set that I managed to catch following the colossal queue to enter the venue, he was exciting, visceral and political. Backed by a two piece live band, Jackson seemingly had the audience at his fingertips who were clinging onto to his every word.

And then it was time for the headliners for the evening to take to the stage.

Following the release of their third record ‘FANDOM’, their first on Hopeless Records, the band were filming Monday evening’s show for an upcoming CD & DVD live release.

And with this brought all the bells and whistles you could imagine.

Backed by a retina burning LED screen, the band found every opportunity to shower the crowd in confetti or shoot steam cannons into the air. There were certainly many points throughout the evening that you wondered why the performance was in fact being aired in such a small venue relative to the size of the crowd and production. But I presume that’s all part of the master-plan.

With the majority of material being performed from their most recent release, the energy never dipped throughout the set, even with 10 minute long medley’s of tracks from their previous two releases ‘Entertainment’ and ‘Double Dare’ getting an airing.

‘Blonde’ & ‘Stupid For You’ did get played in full however, as well as acoustic offerings ‘Lucky People’ & ’21 Questions’, and everything else was either in medley form or from the band’s latest record.

Lead vocalist Awsten Knight’s luminous green hair was truly a sight to behold in real life, always able to be seen in whatever light the stage was tinted with. And I found it also hilarious that you could buy modelled wigs from the merchandise stand!

Like going down the log flume on a summer’s day, the Waterparks live experience is quite the ride.

Reviewer: Dan Earl

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