Waterparks UK Tour

Around two weeks ago I started one of the best weeks of my life. Previously the most I had seen a band on tour had been about four times and that was strictly to cities that were about an hour or two away from me (All Time Low if any you happen to remember), but this time round I was going five dates and it was mixed between the city I lived in, a city an hour away from me and three cities that were up to 3+ hours away. Now my sister has actually followed this tour and went to eight out of nine dates so I’m not on the same level as her but this was still a completely new experience to me. And it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Here’s my account of seeing Waterparks five times.

Nottingham
I began my what would soon become daily 3am starts by getting on a 5am coach to Nottingham and, if I’m honest, I didn’t have the best start once I had arrived as the taxi I got told me that they couldn’t take me the usual way to the venue due to bad traffic so would drop me off two streets away and direct me where to go.
“Just walk towards the pink building.”
….Well I’m going to get lost, thanks anyway. Luckily when I had crossed the road to the side where this pink building was I was immediately greeted by two fans.
“Thank god, another Waterparks fan! We don’t know where to queue up.”
Typically not the first sentence you’d expect to hear from someone who you just met but it was the beginning of what would be an amazing friendship and the start of great memories from that week. That day allowed me to meet several people who I had been following/talking to on Twitter for a while, in fact that week I met a lot of my favourite mutuals on Twitter, something that may have never have happened if it wasn’t for this tour.
I feel like now I need to move on to the actual event itself or I will be going for ages about the discussions and dramas of queuing up and I very much doubt anyone cares about that.
There were two very different support acts on this tour; London-based pop-punk band The Bottom Line and alt pop-rock Chapel from Georgia. I had seen The Bottom Line support Simple Plan last year, the ones who took the strongest shot of alcohol onstage, and was excited to see them again. Their set was just equally loud and out there as before, especially with their punk-rock intro of God Save The Queen that reminded me somewhat of The Sex Pistols and Cal repeating events of crowd-surfing. Now that their new single, I Still Hate You, is now out (buy now on iTunes ;)) I look forward to hopefully seeing them again (I believe that the tour might be happening in January).
If I’m honest I didn’t expect to enjoy Chapel as much as I had, I mean had no idea what to expect to begin with but I was convinced that I would end up enjoying The Bottom Line more…boy was I wrong and I’m fucking glad I was wrong. Chapel were simply fantastic. The duo had amazing star quality that stops you from looking away. Just incredible, please listen to them. Start out with Caught Up and then get back to me.
And now for our main headliners. The same band who had once said “oh we’re not good enough to tour the UK” but were now on a sell-out headline tour. Opening with fan favourite Plum Island and then going straight into their breakout single Crave, it was sign of what the forthcoming setlist would include; nothing but the best of their newest, oldest, popular and, for some people, lesser known tracks like HawaiiMad All The TimeSilverNo Capes and Dizzy. It had been a while since I had last seen them and this just reminded me of how fantastic (no pun intended) they are live and how much I had dearly missed them. The only thing that I could complain about was the slight lack of crowd interaction due to how no one seemed to be asking them random questions that tends to lead on to their sometimes questionably odd banter. The main highlight was when my sister gave Awsten a small cardboard cut-out of himself that soon became a regular occurrence on the tour. *Sigh*, Baby Awsten, you are an icon.
The encore of the night was I’m a Natural Blue that many of us had originally believed had been “killed off” so it was great that were now bringing it back as it’s simply fucking amazing live. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy hearing; “Break me cause JUMP JUMP JUMP” at a show?
After the show we were able to meet Kortney Grinwis from Chapel. I cannot stress how much of a sweetheart she is, she became one the main reasons I looked forward to each show as it felt like I was reuniting with an old friend each time I met her (and Carter, but I didn’t meet him at Nottingham so that’s why he’s not mentioned).
We also able to meet Waterparks afterwards but before I talk about that I feel like I need to do an important PSA.

PSA: There is nothing wrong with meeting your favourite band/singer/actor/celebrity etc. I get the excitement of meeting one of your favourite bands, I really do, I still get really happy whenever I’ve meet Parx, so when someone gets to meet them for the first time I’m pleased for them. What I’m about to say is not me being “entitled” or “rude” because I’ve met them before. 
What I’m not OK with is people mobbing/crowding around them, backing them into walls/cars, making them uncomfortable by asking personal questions or calling them “Daddy” (I wish I was joking), screaming in their faces, or running after them when they arrive at venues or following them into buildings. Basically if you have no respect for their personal space or them as people then I have an issue. I have an issue with anyone that’s done this with any band/singer/actor etc., not just Waterparks. Don’t treat them like caged animals. This happened several times at some of the dates I went to, with Nottingham and Birmingham being the worst. 
If this keeps happening then they will stop meeting people altogether, this has happened with other bands before and it ruins it for other people. Please be respectful with anyone you meet or you’ll find that you won’t be able to meet them again the future. 
Also don’t fucking cut people off when they’re in the middle of talking them. Be patient, you’ll get to talk to them. Don’t be a dick.
And now back to our regular programming.

Whenever I’ve met Waterparks they have always been lovely and chilled and this tour was no different. I mentioned to them that I had got up at 3am for them and they were in disbelief and were asking me why and if I was ok (no, but thanks for asking haha). It was also there that I found out that Geoff knows who I am when he said “It’s great to see you again”, so that was a nice surprise. Overall, a great start to the tour.

Newcastle
We didn’t have as much as an early start this time round but we still had a long journey to make. I don’t want to keep repeating myself about what the performances from both Parx and their support acts were like, as they were brilliant each time, so I’m just going to focus on different highlights and stand-out moments from each date I went to.
While it was lovely to be reunited with friends in the queue, it wasn’t lovely to have a disaster with the queue. Basically: when my sister, friend and I arrived at the venue everyone was queued on one side, number system going and everything, at about 11am/12pm. About 3/4pm security made us move to the other side of the doors (everyone was originally on the left hand side but we were made to go to the right hand side, just to clear up any confusion.) At that point there were other people who had started queuing on the right so we were made to run to the end of the queue, so, as there were people who had been since 7am and had a number system, we knew that this wasn’t fair and spoke to security who thankfully agreed to let us go to the front as long as we organised ourselves. So massive thank you to the security at Newcastle o2 Academy for helping us out. And also a fuck you to the person who tried to have a go at us for this.
Both support acts were just as energetic as the previous night, with a change in The Bottom Line’s intro now being changed to the Star Wars theme. Waterparks were also as energetic with there being more crowd participation where more people now had the courage to shout random bullshit at Awsten. There was also an added song to the setlist! Little Violence!…Well, a half-assed version of it just to shut people up who were shouting song requests, but it’ll do.
I wasn’t able to meet Waterparks this time due to the time my coach left but I was able to meet Chapel (both members this time!) who were genuinely pleased to hear that people were enjoying their set. At this point the tour’s line-up each night was making me more and more happy so I looked forward to seeing The Bottom Line and Chapel each night. (Please tour the UK, I miss you all already.)

Leeds
The most iconic date boi…I hate myself for the fact that that sentence even came into my head. This date was the earliest that we had queued, 4:30 am. No regrets.
The venue tonight was The Key Club which was the most up close and personal show on the tour…and sweatiest. I’m not exaggerating, the humidity in the room rose up and then once condensed dripped back down on us. It was fucking grim but anyway.
Point is that if you’re at the front the band is less than an arms length away. I mean look at this video I got:

Yes… THEY FUCKING ADDED 21 QUESTIONS. AT LONG FUCKING LAST. Leeds had hands down the best setlist of the tour.
However, the night didn’t end on a good note. Without giving away too much there was some words said towards my sister that left her feeling upset, and The Bottom Line and Chapel noticed. I just want to take the time to thank them for looking out for her and trying to cheer her up. I also want to thank Awsten who, despite being told by their tour manager that he needed to go, went over to her after one of our friends told him she was upset and didn’t leave until she was happy. Thank Awsten, you may be annoying at times, but you’re a kind-hearted person.


Manchester
Have you ever had it where your alarm doesn’t go off? Have you ever had it that your alarm doesn’t go off AND you have a train to get? Have you ever had it where you wake up at the time the train is meant to leave? I think you can guess how my morning went.
Luckily trains to Manchester leave every half an hour or so we were able to get into Manchester only an hour and half later from when we were originally meant to arrive.
I’m so conscious of the fact that as I talk through each date the sections are getting shorter, but I am trying to avoid repeating myself as The Bottom Line, Chapel and Waterparks were fantastic each time so I want to focus on stand-out moments from each show.
The main highlight of Manchester is when Carter from Chapel duetted with Waterparks on their song Gloom Boys which was an unexpected bonus of the night and a last minute decision according to Carter when I met them afterwards.

Name a more iconic duo, I’ll wait

There was also a notable change with the setlist, while Waterparks had now added 21 Questions to as seen in Leeds the night before, they were now playing it as part of the encore and had taken I’m A Natural Blue off :)….WHY.
Other stand out moments included catching Otto’s drumstick and being also able to meet Geoff after the show, where I was still shocked at the fact that he knows who I am. He was also happy for me when I told him that I caught Otto’s drumstick.

Birmingham
My last show. I had warned Geoff in Manchester that it would be an emotional day and, well, I wasn’t wrong. Not only would it be the last time I see them (for now…hopefully) it would be the last day of seeing my friends for a while, the friends I had met through this band and through this tour. There was a lot of crying.
And what an amazing last show it was. Even though I knew that it was my last date I was so happy the whole time, I was tired from having to get a 5am coach and knew that I would be stuck in Birmingham until 3am but I didn’t care. Going to gigs makes me so happy, it’s where I can forget about the bullshit going on around me and escape for a few hours.
After a final meeting with The Bottom Line and Chapel (who have said that I can interview them in the future on my news site, cheeky plug in – check out my music news site leedsalternative.com that I’ve made as part of my final year at university), we went round to the backstage door in hopes to say goodbye to Waterparks. Geoff came out first (btw, a massive fuck you to the person who said “oh, it’s only Geoff”) followed a little while later by Awsten complete with mask due to illness.
I had wanted to thank them for everything over the past five shows, for allowing me to meet so many people and getting me out of my comfort zone by letting me visit cities that I’ve never been to before, and for them always being kind to me whenever I’ve met them. Both of them were genuinely happy to hear this (with Awsten using sign language to help create a reply).

Following this band on tour has been amazing and I am so grateful for everything I have experienced and for everyone I met. I hope I get to do this again soon. Until next time.

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Slam Dunk 2017

Every UK pop-punk kid’s favourite day of the year has come back for another year and now that we’ve all just about recovered…oh who am I kidding, none have us have gotten over it yet. It’s one of the best days of the year, you can’t move on so easily.
So before I start feeling emotional here’s a summary of my day;

After having a bit of nightmare with getting in as for some reason the security at the gate my friends and I went to wouldn’t let us in for a while despite people evidently being let in from other gate, we went to the With Confidence signing. I bought a poster for them to sign as I firstly had no idea whether they would give us something there for them to sign, spoiler alert they do, and I also just thought “why not?” It made their day though. The poster I had bought had been printed in Rock Sound and they had no idea that it had been put in there, so they got really excited and started shouting at their photographer, Brandon, that he was famous. On top of that they also gave me a signed postcard, so thanks lads!

I got back in line straightaway for the Waterparks signing that would start immediately after With Confidence’s. (Are you really that surprised?) I bought their Rock Sound cover for them to sign, which they were really happy about, and I got to have a nice conversation with them about their recent trip to Japan. It was also great to see my sister being reunited with them as she is their “mum away from mum” and getting the group hug which she had been wishing for so badly. Genuinely they are one of the friendliest bands you could ever meet.

After a quick alcohol break at Wetherspoons we went to see Boston Manor. Now I had been wanting to check them out for ages after getting so many recommendations from friends, pop-punk fans and music publications alike, so this is going to be like a first impression type thing. I had a lot of fun at their set which was full of energy and catchy songs, as well as enjoying frontman, Henry Cox’s, charisma and energy, especially when he decided to crowdsurf during different parts of their set. So, a good first impression? Definitely! I’ll be listening to them more in the future and keep an eye out for any future tour dates and festival appearances.

Next up were With Confidence who had made a huge jump from being on the Kerrang! Fresh Bloof stage last year to now being on the Key Club stage. They played a range of songs from their EPs and of course their stunning debut album, Better Weather,  which has to be one of 2016’s best albums and one of the most underrated. (Seriously listen to it, it will change your life.) They opened  with ‘Voldemort‘ where there was not one person who wasn’t screaming the iconic “I remember the first night that she said, oh maybe I can do this on my own“. Their energetic and fun set was similar to that of their UK tour, they followed ‘Voldemort‘ up with ‘Archers‘, ‘Dinner Bell‘ and ‘Higher‘, as well playing fan favourites like ‘Godzilla‘ and ‘We’ll Be Okay‘. They finished their set with their breakout single “Keeper”.

Now it was time Waterparks, (Again, are you really surprised?) They had previously announced that they would be playing a different setlist every day so there was massive excitement and speculation with what they would be playing today. Well…THEY FUCKING PLAYED GLOOM BOYS AND DIZZY LIVE I CAN NOW DIE HAPPY. *breathes* Ok I’m calm. They were just as stunning as usual, as well playing ‘Gloom Boys‘ and ‘Dizzy‘, they also had ‘Crave‘, ‘Hawaii (Stay Awake)‘ and ‘Royal‘ on their setlist. Other things that ensued was the now infamous banter between Awsten and my sister, as well as him signing my friends head. So a typical Waterparks show? We also got to meet Waterparks again after their set where we talked about their upcoming tour and Awsten had me scared for my life when I told him to play ‘Easter Egg‘ as a joke and he gave me a death stare/smirk. Please don’t hate me…I’ll see you at the tour in September!

We pretty much then ran to the Rock Sound Break Out stage after seeing a tweet saying that there was a massive queue to get inside the building, we weren’t going to miss out on The Gospel Youth. Now if you were to listen to one band recommendation from me then I seriously recommended The Gospel Youth, their song discography has such a broad range of lyrical topics and musical styles that can narrate any point of your day. Their front-man, Sam Little, is also one of the best vocalists I have had the pleasure of seeing live and it honestly shocks me that this band is so underrated. I got to meet them shortly after their set and I need to say that they’re all such genuinely lovely people who deserve all of the best success in the world. Their debut album, Always Lose, comes out 14th July and you need to listen to it. Trust me.

The last act of the night was Monster Stage headliners Neck Deep. Now I don’t think I need to say much on how good they are live, but FUCKING HELL THEY WERE BRILLIANT. A few days prior to Slam Dunk they unveiled two new tracks, ‘Happy Judgement Day‘ and ‘Where Do We Go When We Go‘, from their upcoming album The Peace and The Panic so there was massive excitement in hearing them play their new material live. And they certainly delivered. They also delivered in playing a lot of their classic tracks like ‘Gold Steps‘, ‘Loosing Teeth‘ and ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots‘, as well as playing fan favourites like ‘Kali Mai‘, ‘What Did You Expect‘ and ‘Serpents‘. A fantastic way to end a beautiful day.

See you lot next year!

Victors

The upcoming electro-pop band from Leeds amazed concert-goers at their debut EP launch on Friday. Having released their first single, Tonight, back in April the band have built up their fanbase with 94K listeners a month on Spotify and have received radio airplay on stations such as on BBC Radio 1 and Radio X.

Apart from listening to quick snippets from their debut single and other two songs, Two Hearts and Feel, I had no idea what to expect from tonight’s performance so this review will be entirely based on first impressions. I will admit that I was a little bit cautious when they were listed under the genre of ‘electro-pop’ as, based on previous experience, electro-pop tends to either fall under two categories of being overly generic or overly cheesy (or a combination if you’re unlucky enough). However, I was pleasantly surprised from what I saw that evening.

A nice, pretty intro for title-track Wish You Were Her, reminiscent of The 1975’s style, assured me that this night would be an enjoyable one. Looking around the room I could see everyone dancing and having a genuinely good time, the same people who were evidently friends and family of the band themselves looked undeniably proud as they saw how far Victors had come since they were formed over two years ago.

Their musical style was a mixture of something you would hear in a good rock/pop nightclub and of someone you would expect to open for The 1975. I know that I keep mentioning The 1975 and I just want to assure you that I’m not trying to do a lazy comparison neither am I claiming them to be a copycat version of them. Victors have their own style and have their own uniqueness when it comes to live performances.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the last two songs of the night (the pain of being a student and having to follow a strict public transport schedule) but regardless of that I still had an enjoyable time. The highlight songs of the evening for me were the EP’s title track Wish You Were Her, In Love and Feel, while I also enjoyed their mini cover of The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face.

Victors are indeed a stunning local band and mark a fresh change from other upcoming artists that either fall into the cliché popstar style or being an unoriginal hardcore band who feel as if no one understands them. They are a breath of fresh air and I encourage anyone to be on the lookout for them as I see them hitting big in the future.