In what felt like a long time coming we finally have Waterparks Fandom Tour on our doorstep! Belfast’s Waterfront hall plays host to this evenings fun and as I approach the door a feeling of trepidation comes over me as a wave of silver surfers (70 years plus) are gathered around the doors – now I’ve seen Waterparks and I’ve put out their press releases and know what to expect but a fan base of 70+ years is pushing it!
Thankfully there are two gigs tonight, Waterparks at the Waterfront Studio whilst the silver surfers are being entertained to something a tad more sedate in the main Auditorium.
Opening tonight and for the European Tour is De’Wayne Jackson – an alt-Rock rapper from Houston Texas. This colorful character fuses/crosses genres laying down a path of destruction in his wake, with him a savage drummer and guitarist who bring down a wall of distortion and riffs that reverberate across the room.
De’Wayne throws down a collection of succinct tracks that start and stop on a dime! In the mix is his version of the Iggy Pop classic ‘Man I Wanna Be Your Dog’ that really gets the crowd going, De’Wayne revels at the facts he’s in Belfast Northern Ireland and how he never thought he’d see this day.
The crowd is loving his energy, intensity, and passion for his craft, giving back 110% of what De’Wayne is giving from the stage. Somehow he’s wearing an oversized jumper which must be 200 degrees inside that thing, but it doesn’t slow him one bit, with animalistic qualities he absolutely slays his set making his mark on his Northern Irish debut. Eventually, the heat gets the better of him and the jumper gets tossed aside, revealing a slender black athletic-looking figure that reminiscent of a young Jimi Hendrix back in the day. Now Jimi would no doubt love the evolution of music and the showmanship that De’Wayne brings to the party just like the energetic and appreciative Belfast crowd in attendance tonight.
With a sonic boom coming over the speakers the lights dim and Waterparks take to the stage, the room packed with wound up Emo-Pop-Punk music lovers go wild as this high octane trio lay right into their set with gusto. Waterparks are a tight outfit and toss out their lyrics and riffs like sweeties in the playground and these emo kids are lapping them up.
They bring a high octane band thrashing out melodic numbers for fun, which has the room bouncing from front to back. Frontman Awsten Knights’s luminous hair glows in the black light and it’s a sight to see for sure, the guy’s interchange spaces on stage constantly moving from side to side as Awsten and guitarist Geoff Wiginton exchange places in each and every song.
Awsten says it’s good to be back, and the crowd agrees as they cheer every word he says. A young and enthusiastic crowd soaks up all that Waterparks can throw at them, the booming bass which shakes the very foundation of the room greets each new track, the crowd mirroring every move as Awsten orchestrates them front to back. The guys bring it down for a track or two to allow the audience to catch their breath, before ramping it back up into a full-throttle performance that ignites the room once again.
The Belfast crowd was treated to tracks from their earlier EP’s and their three studio albums including their 2019 release Fandom which shows their growth since their 2011 formation. Numerous tours and miles on the road have resigned this band to be a powerhouse live and their infectious energy makes for a highly charged performance, one that the Belfast faithful won’t forget in a while.
The guys move onto the UK Mainland now before they take it to Europe, hopefully, you can still catch them at one of the dates below.
The FANDOM UK / Europe Tour Dates
Jan 24 – Dublin, Ireland – The Academy
Jan 25 – Belfast, U.K. – Waterfront Studio
Jan 26 – Glasgow, U.K. – SWG3
Jan 27 – Birmingham, U.K. – Institute
Jan 29 – Manchester, U.K. – Academy 2
Feb 1 – London, U.K. – Electric Ballroom
Feb 4 – Koln, Germany – Luxor
Feb 5 – Munich, Germany – Feirerwerk
Feb 7 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg
Feb 8 – Hamburg, Germany – Logo
Feb 9 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Pumpehuset
Feb 11 – Oslo, Norway – Parkteateret
Feb 12 – Stockholm, Sweden – Klubben
Review & Photography // Mark McGrogan
#flashartmark // @flashartmark