There are a few songs that really soundtracked my plunge into self-employment and one of those is Waterparks’ “Lowkey As Hell”. It’s a catchy little number with words that seemed to fit this shift for me just so perfectly. I don’t remember the first time I heard it or anything but I know I must have listened to that song at least a few dozen times per week as I took the plunge and still have it on my regular rotation to this day. What I’m trying to say is I was super excited as I walked through the chilly streets of Minneapolis to get to The Fillmore on Monday night.
I was a bit surprised when the show started over a half-hour later than expected but, after digging, I realized that one of the opening acts, Arrested Youth, had dropped off of the tour. I have to be honest, I was a bit bummed about that. I caught Arrested Youth a while back and loved his live show so was a bit surprised to hear he dropped off due to some events that happened at one of the first shows on this tour. I will not get into it because I feel like it’s a lot of drama and I just don’t know enough on the situation to speak about it but no need to fear– even though there were only two bands that performed on Monday, there was no lack of energy or power.
Phem was the sole opening on the show. I thought I had never heard of this act before but, within the first song, I recognized their/her distinct sound as being one that I hear on some of my daily playlists. I really don’t know much about this group so I’m not sure if Phem is in reference to just the vocalist or the full band but, being a person who watches everything happening on a stage at all times, I’m going to go ahead and refer to Phem as “them” in reference to the full band because all four of the members definitely brought something to the stage. Phem’s sound is a pop-drenched punk vibe with no shortage of emotion or vocal talent. I mean, really, I can not say enough about the vocalist of this group. Her range is stunning and the overall tone of her voice is addicting. The entire band had a very IDGAF (that’s “I don’t give a fuck” for you youngsters out there) attitude but it really seemed to radiate from the vocalist more than the other bands. With a story about always being the odd one out in social situations and her family yet finding herself in music and finding her real family in the crowds, I loved the way this band was able to connect with the modest and young audience that had made the trek out on a Monday night. Phem’s set was short and sweet and, before I knew it, the room was left hanging with anticipation as the stage was turned over for the headliner.
My feeling was right and as soon as this band took over the stage, I found myself completely captivated by the lights, the sound, and the constant movement on stage. Waterparks ripped through their set that lasted about twenty tracks in record time but that wasn’t before they formed a true connection with the audience. Whereas I felt a little attitude coming from Awsten last time I saw them, this time there was nothing but love between the band and audience. From an audience member trying to throw a hoodie on stage (which prompted Awsten to ask the crowd if trading clothes was just something we do here in Minnesota which, after the same thing happened at the Bleachers show last week so maybe) to the way he pooled the audience if they liked the name Waterparks or The Waterparks better (long story short- a newscaster up here called them The Waterparks and apparently it really irked the band), there was just a playful and friendly vibe in the air throughout their set.
Although the set seemed super short and was done in right around an hour, Waterparks didn’t hold back when it came to curating their setlist. I got to hear all of the songs I wanted including “Lowkey as Hell” and “I Miss Having Sex but at Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore” (seriously great track) and then some. The band did a great job of mixing infectious jams with more tender tracks. One of those more tender tracks was “Violet!” and apparently the band was caught a bit off guard by the entire audience singing so, once the song was done, Awsten asked the crowd to sing the chorus a few more times just so he could take it all in. Honestly, the crowd did sound great and although the venue was not sold-out (or even close if I’m being quite honest), it felt like the entire city was in that room as everyone sang back at the stage.
This band a special thing that I see many bands try to fake. There’s no faking it with Waterparks and that just made their set on Monday night that much better. Waterparks will continue to be a go-to for me for the foreseeable future. From their infectious music to their energetic live show, this is definitely a band that is going to be more than a flash in the pan.