Valentino Petrarca

Waterparks at TLA / May 19, 2023

The first time I saw Waterparks live was in 2017 during the Double Dare era. They only had 1 album out and were still fresh in the scene. I remember the performance being stellar enough for me to check them out and become a fan, but they were still finding their sound. The band played their songs, wrote killer pop punk bangers, and bounced off stage. Now, in 2023, they have found their identity, their live presence, their fanbase, and are perfect performers. They have grown into the stage and have found themselves in the process.

Waterparks are one of the only bands that doesn’t take themselves seriously but still commits to making music with an impeccable precision. Seeing the Intellectual Property Tour live in Philadelphia meant watching a band reach their full potential. Waterparks is clearly at their best. If you disagree, buy a ticket and see them at their peak for yourself.

On May 19 at Theatre of Living Arts, the energy was electric. Every song during the concert had fans bouncing, up on their feet, crowd-surfers, and hands waving in the air. Waterparks also encouraged fan participation more than any band I’ve ever witnessed. Their stage banter is genuinely unmatched. Fans would write messages on their phones, put them up in the sky, and frontman Awsten Knight would read them and respond. He took goggles from a fan and put them on drummer Otto Wood while they were playing. Fans would tell the band in between songs their story and he would make jokes. This made it feel less like a show and more like a community, a gathering of friends. I’ve never seen such a candid nature towards an audience. It’s clear this band really cares about their fans as individual people, not just as a massive crowd. 

The opening of the show was fantastic. The synths on “ST*RFUCKER” slowly built up the hype that went into the guitar-driven explosion of “Numb.” It was a colossal entrance. During the track “Ritual,” a massive circle pit opened in the center of the venue and it was hands down the most friendly pit I’ve experienced. There were no crow- killers or annoying crowd-surfers. People were just laughing and shoving in an appropriate manner. We can confidently say it was the most respectable pit we’ve seen, easily.

Obviously the band is known for having an upbeat sound, but the live show matched that. Tracks like “Stupid for You,” “2 BEST FRIENDS,” and “Rare” radiated a contagious happiness that spread smiles across the room. Despite the band being labeled as fun pop punk, they’re also so much more than that. Emotional moments, such as during “Closer,” created a somber atmosphere. Still, Waterparks ended their show with the two extremely aggressive songs: “REAL SUPER DARK” and “Turbulent.” The fact that Waterparks have such a wide variety of sounds but yet it all feels unapologetically their own is no easy feat. 

This concert also helped fans like myself appreciate the band’s previous releases more. The only album I never really connected with was their 2019 record Fandom. I remember being severely disappointed when it dropped and never revisited it since then. Seeing the tracks live made me genuinely question what the hell I was thinking! They fit perfectly into the band’s setlist and were captivating; they brought all the whimsy the band is known for. You know it’s a good performance when you rethink everything you thought you knew about the previous music. 

Finally, the most inspiring aspect of the night was the fans. Every single person was representing their favorite album era with their fashion, accessories, or face paint. With their new album aesthetic being red, you could look out and see a sea of red hair. We saw red denim jackets and neon pants, and I can’t count the number of people with red stars across their eyes, just like Awsten himself. No matter how young or old (but mostly young) this fanbase was, everyone was just so stoked to be there. It made me appreciate what it means to truly be a fan. The Intellectual Property show in Philadelphia was not just a concert, but rather an experience of laughter, manic sounds, emotions, and a whole lot of red hair dye.


  2. Numb
  3. Rare
  4. Stupid For You
  5. Crave
  9. War Crimes
  10. [Reboot]
  11. Royal 
  12. Telephone
  13. RITUAL
  14. I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore
  15. Group Chat
  16. CLOSER


  2. Turbulent