Some of you may be unfamiliar with how big the self-professed “God’s favourite boy band” Waterparks are nowadays. To clarify, they’ve sold out two nights at London’s iconic Electric Ballroom, and hordes of eager fans decked head-to-toe in merch are queuing past Camden Market waiting to be let in.
Some are holding signs professing they’ve come all the way from Spain. Some have camped here over night just to be sure they’d make it to the barrier to be as close as possible to their idols. Indeed, if you’re unfamiliar with how big this band are, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Inside, the room is packed to the rafters – though the bars main remarkably quiet, which speaks volumes of how young Waterparks‘ fanbase are. Between this, their electro-pop infused brand of pop-punk, and frontman Awsten Knight‘s Day-Glo green hair, it’d be easy to dismiss them as another teeny-bopper band: but they’re a teeny-bopper band who have some absolute bangers, as they’re about to demonstrate.
Opening with the short but sweet ‘Cherry Red’, the intro to their latest album ‘FANDOM’, the screams from the fans are deafening, and only get louder when they launch into ‘Watch What Happens Next’. It’s somewhat odd to hear hundreds of fans screaming the words to a song Knight wrote about the shitty entitled behaviour og his own fans, but who cares when the chorus is this irresistible?
The set is peppered with huge choruses, from ‘Blonde’ and ‘Dream Boy’ through to the heavier ‘War Crimes’ and the dark, moody ‘[Reboot]’. It’s amazing how many songs Waterparks manage to pack into their set, largely thanks to the presence of mashed up medleys ‘Double Dare 2019’ and ‘Entertainment 2019’, which mean that we get to hear snippets of songs like the gorgeously mellow ‘Peach (Lobotomy)’ with its whistled hook.
A short acoustic set in the middle also proves to be a high point, with massive sing-alongs to sweet renditions of ‘Lucky People’ and ’21 Questions’.
Whilst the songs themselves are pure pop brilliance, there’s a few niggles with the live show. The set is heavy on the backing track, which is unsurprising, but at times it’s difficult to hear the real vocals over the auto-tuned backing ones. Knight‘s swaggering on stage banter isn’t always likeable, and there’s some odd filler moments – like getting the crowd to join in with his vocal warm-ups. That said, the crowd lap up every moment.
Above all, it’s a show with more hooks than a bait shop, and more pep than a… pep rally. As the final buzz of ‘Turbulent’ rings out, a mob of eager teens have already made their way to the merch stand. One girl stands nervously feeling in her tiny shoulder bag, before proclaiming to her relieved looking friend: “It’s okay! The merch money’s safe!”. The kids are alright.