Waterparks • February 29, 2024 • The Union

Reviewed and Photographed by Morgan Newbold

Last Thursday night, Waterparks, the dynamic pop-punk trio hailing from Houston, Texas, took the stage at The Union. Transforming the night into an electrifying spectacle of visuals and neon splendor! Fans arrived early and ready dressed in colorful Parx merch. It was a pretty packed crowd and an even more stacked set from the band. Salt Lake was the third stop on their ‘Sneaking Out Of Heaven’ tour. I walked up to the stage to see my friends in the photo pit with me, some really really talented ladies. Everyone seemed overwhelmingly excited to see a new stage design. And I was equally excited to shoot it. 

Waterparks, a trio consisting of frontman Awsten Knight, guitarist Geoff Wigington, and drummer Otto Wood, released their first EP ‘Airplane Conversations’ in 2012, followed by 2 more EP’s and their first studio album ‘Double Dare’ in 2016. They’ve always been a pretty popular cult band, but really gained traction and wider success from their 2019 record ‘FANDOM’. They have a major rock/pop-punk and alternative sound with varying influences. But have a carefree approach to not be limited by genre. Which is always refreshing to see. They now have five studio albums and no intention of slowing the roll they are on. 

Photo Credit: Morgan Newbold

As the lights went down, young Parx fans went, for lack of a better word, feral. I have never really listened to or seen Waterparks’ set. So I thought this would be the best way to see what they were all about! The trio walked out and hyped up the crowd. Spunky-looking guys! I knew Awsten would have his iconic orange-red hair. Or at least he had a bit of it left in the front.

He looked pretty cool with two Crosses painted over his eyes in neon green. The stage lit up in bright colors and neon black light, maybe to highlight the paint, which it DID! The stage design was great, with a backdrop of half walls and LED screens that flashed various visuals of people, flowers, and patterns. There were a few mannequins around the stage in hazmat suits and gas masks, as well as shrubbery draped over the walls. 

They opened with “Watch What Happens Next”, and I was not surprised that throughout the show, every single person knew the lyrics. They played a banger set, selecting from all of their albums. The lights were mostly neon purple, but there was a lot of variation as well, from red to green to orange, which I appreciated. They had a toooon of energy, and switched from one side of the stage to the other very quickly, much to my brief annoyance, as I was trying to get a shot of them bending over their guitars or jumping 5 feet in the air. Halfway through the show I made my way up to the balcony, and I stayed there until the end. Witnessed many intense moshpits and the visuals looked insane from up there. 

In the middle of the set, there was a stage change and intermission with a long 3-5 minute recorded monologue, while Awsten sat silhouetted behind a large drape. Then towards the end of the show, Awsten made his way to a little B-stage, which was a small cage, draped with flowers and shrubs, with a keyboard. I didn’t notice it at first, so I was very confused as to why it seemed like everyone was leaving halfway through the show, but they were just moving over to get closer to him. He sang a couple slower songs as Geoff and Otto watched him from the stage. I really loved the colorful visuals of this show. I was really impressed by that and thoroughly enjoyed capturing it! They have many more dates on this tour, so I highly recommend seeing them!

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