Waterparks Throws a Giant Party at First Avenue


I have a love/hate relationship with all ages show. I love how all ages means I will be home fairly early in the night compared to most nights meaning I can at least attempt to get a normal amount of sleep but I hate how that means my afternoons are rushed trying to get to the show on time as they typically start early. I love the fact that I am able to feed off the energy of kids at shows like this as they tend to go a bit harder in the audience but I hate the fact that I absolutely feel my age at all ages shows. What I’m trying to say is I was a bit torn as I made my way to the First Avenue main room on Monday as it was my first all ages show in some time but as soon as I got into the familiar space, that hate part of the love/hate relationship went away and I ready to be wowed by the three bands of the night.

First up on the three-band bill was Brooklyn, NY based Daisy Grenade. Out of the three acts on Monday, this was the only one I knew nothing about so I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as the five-piece stormed the stage. I mean when I say they stormed the stage. Daisy Grenade bolted out and took their spots under the spotlights with a sense of fury and power. It may have been early in the night and I may have been still nursing my first Red Bull of the evening to help get me through but these guys were ready to go and ready to take over the First Avenue main room one note at a time.

Daisy Grenade has been classified as a bubblegrunge group. Now, if you’re like me, you may be thinking– what in the heck in bubblegrunge but, after hearing and seeing them perform, I get it. Their sound has many nods to 90s grunge and even a darker almost metal sound that comes in and out throughout their set but, overall, this group is fun and bouncy with infectious pop-laden beats that make you want to dance. There were moments when the two vocalists (Dani Nigro and Keaton Whittaker) had a sound and attitude that reminded me of Millionaires (throwback, I know), and other moments when they had something a bit heavier behind them and even had me thinking about bands like The Blood Brothers. It was a strange combination but I was absolutely here for it. Unfortunately, things had to move quickly and after a short set, Daisy Grenade was being ushered off the stage.

I was already left a little confused by the bi-polar sounds of Daisy Grenade and became more confused as HUNNY, the second band of the night, kicked into their set. I’ve been seeing HUNNY for years at this point and most recently saw them when they opened for State Champs last November. Although that was a couple of months ago, in the lifespan of HUNNY, that’s very little time as this band has been grinding for decades yet everything seemed to have changed over the past few months. I’m not sure if it’s a new set-up that the band is trying or if something happened but instead of hitting the stage as a full band as HUNNY usually does, the set-up was just a duo with a drum machine behind them. I was instantly intrigued and definitely didn’t hate the intimate vibe that this set-up gave their set but I was super confused as to what was going on.

Beyond my confusion about the set-up for HUNNY was my confusion around their sound. Again, like the “new” set-up, I felt like the sound of this band had completely changed but that doesn’t mean I hated it. I’ve seen this band go from pop-punk anthems to indie-pop love songs over the years and, as I stood there watching them on Monday, I saw them play through electronic infused infectious bops. That’s not to say that I didn’t get to hear some of my old favorites from this seasoned group but, even when they played through some of their older material, there was something just a bit different about the delivery. I was clearly the only one trying to figure out what was going on rather than just getting lost in the music. The entire nearly sold-out audience was jumping to the beats and sounds of HUNNY as if they had been waiting for that moment their whole lives.

The excitement as HUNNY wrapped up their set was palpable and came to a climax as the stage was turned over for headliners, Waterparks. Waterparks is not a new band. They have actually been around since 2011 but just recently really started getting the attention they deserve. With a pop-punk sound that is equal parts nostalgia and modern and a live show that is bright and fun, there’s no question why Waterparks is quickly becoming a household name. My only question is why did it take so long for people to catch onto the magic of this band.

Monday night’s show was part of a tour supporting Waterparks’ new album ‘Intellectual Property’ but, thankfully, the band didn’t only play songs from this album. ‘Intellectual Property’ is a great album, don’t get me wrong, but hearing them play songs spanning their entire five album career was the highlight of the night for me. I got to hear some classic favorites like “Stupid For You” from their 2016 album ‘Double Dare’ and, a hilarious yet oddly relatable “I miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore” from their 2019 album, ‘Fandom’. Sure, I wasn’t like the majority of the audience who was singing along to nearly every song that the band played during their twenty song set but I definitely belted out a few here and there.

Regardless of if you like Waterparks’ anthemic pop-punk sound or not, there’s no denying the power behind their live shows. From bright and colorful lights to production behind them that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but always adds something larger than life to their performances, Waterparks knows how to give the audience what they want. There’s also the undeniable connection between all three members of this band and their fans. Obviously that connection is most evident with vocalist Awsten Knight. Fans of this band hang onto every word he says and that was clearly throughout the set on Monday night. Awsten is not oblivious to this and used his power for good throughout the evening most notably when he reminded the audience to drink water and stay hydrated. Sure, he made some jokes about it but also pointed out that there were people passing out in the audience due to heat and he didn’t want anyone being “peeled off the floor by security”. There were a million little moments like that throughout the night that just reminded myself and everyone else who was paying attention that this trio is just a group of guys that truly love what they are doing and truly care about their fans. That speaks volumes to me and will keep me coming back time and time again to catch Waterparks live.