Following its premiere last night, we look at why Waterparks have created not just a beautiful piece of art but also a perfect representation of why live music is so magical with their brand new concert film.
There’s something truly magical about live music. We all know it. Sometimes it’s hard to really explain the effect that 90 minutes of watching your favourite band play your favourite songs mere metres away from you can have on your mind, your body and, most importantly, your soul. You can go to a show and it can become something that you talk about for the rest of your life or even something that has an overarching effect on the path you end up taking. Then there’s the fact that no matter how intimate or humongous a show is, every single person in attendance is there for a very different reason but have all been drawn there for the exact same one. Is there anything in the world as powerful as that? And how exactly do you capture that incredible feeling for you to experience again and again and again?
In many ways, that’s what Awsten Knight wanted to do with ‘FANDOM: LIVE IN THE UK’. Drawing inspiration from the likes of My Chemical Romance’s ‘Life On The Murder Scene’ and Taking Back Sunday’s ‘Louder Now Part 2’ that he grew up watching, yet also possessing a thirst for doing things a little different, he set out to create documentation of the band but from the perspective of how he feels whilst performing. Taking the raw intensity of a Waterparks show and moulding it into something that closer resembles art that can be enjoyed, dissected and pondered over for decades to come. And with the assistance of long-time collaborator Jawn Rocha, that’s exactly what he has achieved and then some. And there was nowhere else in the world he wanted to bring his vision to life than in the United Kingdom.
First off, a Waterparks show is a unique entity in itself. It’s louder, rowdier and prouder than anything else you have ever experienced and every single person who was in the Birmingham Institute on January 27 2020 came with the intention of giving everything they had. They screamed each and every word they could back towards the stage, jumped so high that the sky was in touching distance and showed the band exactly what this batch of songs means to them from euphoric beginning to devastating end. Whether it’s during the brilliantly fun ‘I Miss Having Sex But At Least But I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore’, the arena-sized ‘Royal’ or the THREE increasingly louder renditions of ‘Group Chat’, it’s truly spine-tingling stuff and a firm reminder of the brand of infatuation that this band can conjure.
Then there’s the plethora of mind-melting psychedelic effects that bring these songs to life that Awsten and Jawn have toiled over the past few months. There are shades of shimmering yellow, vibrant purple and metallic grey that wash over the band during the delicious ‘Stupid For You’, buoyant ‘Blonde’ and emotional ‘High Definition’. There's images of Otto battering the fuck out of his drums and Geoff thrashing at his guitar that are then sent into hypnotic spirals where the centre shifts as much as the music during the absolutely monolithic run-throughs of cathartic compilation tracks ‘Double Dare 2019’ and ‘Entertainment 2019’. There's the fiery orange eyes that appear on Awsten and make him look utterly monstrous in the middle of ‘Watch What Happens Next’. There’s even a moment during a stirring ’21 Questions’ when the phone torches being held up by the crowd suddenly shift from glistening stars into ruby and emerald jewels sparkling from the floor all the way to the roof. Though one thing that stays constant is Awsten’s fluorescent green hair, shining like a beacon of neon brilliance in a sea of bouncing bodies, clapping hands and breaking voices. Each second of inventive and insane footage has been crafted to perfection and makes not just the songs but the band shine.
And as the show closes with an unhinged rendition of ‘Turbulent’, you can feel the sweat of the crowd on your neck, the feedback of the bass in your ears and the utter jubilation that live music provides coursing through your veins. It’s that time, patience and attention to detail that makes this so much more than just concert film for Waterparks. It’s a moment in time that has been bottled, enhanced and gifted back to the world to get lost in whenever it wants. It’s a thrilling, stimulating and beautiful piece of art that makes you feel like you were there in that very moment even if you were nowhere near Birmingham on that colourful evening. That’s something pretty special, isn’t it?
Though more than anything, ‘FANDOM: LIVE IN THE UK’ serves as a firm reminder of just how far Waterparks have come in the last few years and how hard they are willing to push to destroy any barriers that are in their way. It also poses the biggest question of all; what are they going to do next?
We can’t wait to find out.
'FANDOM: LIVE IN THE UK' is set for release on CD and Blu-Ray on December 18. You can pre-order it from right HERE