Made In America bolstered a top line-up from the get go, featuring rising bands within the pop punk music scene with the ever impressive three-piece Waterparks at the head. With a brand new track to push out in a live setting and a set full of promised surprises, fans flooded into the Paradise Rock Club in anticipation.
First up on the bill is Chicago pop punkers Sleep On It, a band who recently released their debut album to much acclaim in the genre. With a slight vocal twang akin to The Dangerous Summer, Sleep On It offer a heavy hitting roll out of dynamic pop punk jams that excel in a live setting. Fireworks is a highlight, with a beat behind it that really fires up the awaiting crowd.
Next in line are Chapel, a compelling two-piece that is comprised of simply a singer, who also rocks it on guitar and a greatly talented drummer. Their set is a perfect mix of pop and synth, the type that you can’t help but dance to but they of course have their own surprises to throw in, like a rather eerily impressive rendition of Radiohead’s Creep.
Everyone is swung back to pop punk with British band As It Is. It’s no surprise to see why they’re rising so quickly within the genre, they’re a talented bunch with high energy performances matched with their incredibly catchy tracks. Vocalist Patty Walters is light on his feet and unable to stay still, they’re the perfect precursor to the headliner for the night as the crowd parallels every high jump Walters makes as if in perfect time.
Finally the time comes for Waterparks to take the stage to the opening of Plum Island. It is followed by two hugely popular tracks, perhaps the two the band are best known for but the highlight is actually what comes after – a enthralling rendition of a slightly older track from the Cluster EP Pink. It slows toward the end before coming into a drop that brings everyone off of their feet. Guitarist Geoff Wigington is eclectic, moving around the stage like he owns it and commanding everyone’s eye. It works, as girls almost throw themselves over the barricade to reach out as he comes to the edge.
Vocalist Awsten Knight’s voice has become quite refined, suiting a live setting more and more with each tour that passes. Blonde in particular is a good way to showcase it; with it’s fast paced bridge, long notes and snarl toward the end of the song, Knight perfectly displays the different ways he can project his voice breathing in more life to the new song. It’s displayed a little more so later on in the way of two acoustic tracks, Powerless and 21 Questions, both love songs in their own respect. They’re beautiful renditions, both lit with the lights of hundreds of phones waving in unison.
Though shrouded by darkness for the most part, drummer Otto Wood is quite something. He’s a spirited performer who clearly puts a lot of passion into playing. Between songs Knight even takes a photo of the way his hair is tousled by the action before going on a rant about how his main goal for the band is to get on one of the Kidz Bop albums, perching himself on the drums.
Easter Egg is backed by a countdown and the humorous ‘this will never happen again’. It’s only 30 seconds worth of the track but it’s enough to please those longtime fans who had been heard shouting for the song during small breaks in the set. However it is stopped short when Knight calls it to a stop to help a injured fan in need and fans respectfully quieten whilst security do their job. For a while it’s unsure whether the show will continue, which would have been entirely understandable but, once everyone is sure the fan is okay, Knight announces that they have one more song left and that’s the huge ‘I’m A Natural Blue’. Though the set does end on a high, it does seem a little bittersweet.
If there’s one thing to know about Waterparks, it’s that they have bold ambitions, with their sights set on bigger and better shows with even more elaborate production and with such high energy tracks, it’s easy to see how that could correlate in the near future. Especially with a second album on it’s way so soon. Perhaps the only downside of the night is that they didn’t play the aptly named track Made In America as it would have suited so well, however there is plenty room for that on future setlists when their sets jump the extra mile and allow the band to showcase how truly great they are even more than before.