By Allison O’Reilly

In an intimate venue with a crowd the size of what you could find in a frat basement on any given Thursday, pop-punk band Waterparks connected with their fans through humor, upbeat tunes and loads of crowd surfing.

The lead singer of the group, Awsten Knight, started off their set by announcing he just came from the Whole Foods down the road.

“What do you guys think I smell like?” Knight jokingly asked after their first song. “All I heard was ass and sex, and I’m gonna say none of you are wrong!”

Metro Gallery, the extremely small Baltimore venue fit to hold around 200 people, had shockingly stellar sound quality experience, making the fun and dance-worthy songs even more enjoyable.

Waterparks opened with “Made In America,” but the fun really started when they got to their most recognizable song, “Stupid for You,” which was when fans finally started crowd surfing, moshing and dancing freely.

Brittany Williams, a freshman psychology major at this university, was the first to crowd surf during the show.

“It was a little scary because I didn’t know if the crowd would be able to hold me up, but it was a super exhilarating moment and the lead singer held my hand so it was awesome,” Williams said.

When Knight transitioned to play the slow, acoustic song “21 Questions,” he asked a fan in the front row to hold his guitar as he tied his shoes.

Waterparks closed out the night with “Royals.” Everyone in the crowd jumped around and sang out loud before the band members grabbed fans hands as they exited the stage.

Prior to Waterparks, the bands Chapel and Too Close to Touch performed.

Chapel, an up-and-coming band from Georgia, had a small set with lots of energy. They’re seemingly lesser known with just over 1,000 Instagram followers and limited Spotify listeners, and this show seemed to be good exposure for the trio.

The transitions between bands were perhaps the worst part of the entire experience. Breaks in between sets took roughly 25 minutes with sound-checking that seemed excessive. I’m not a musician, so it may have been necessary, but it was a bit annoying as a member of the audience.

Transition time did, however, bring about bonding in the audience as Taylor Swift and One Direction classics, as well as other pop hits, played over the speakers so the singing and dancing didn’t have to stop.

Too Close to Touch had a fun set with emotional music. The fan interaction reached the next level as an audience member hopped on stage and stole the mic from the lead singer, belting a verse and a chorus of their most popular song, “Pretty Little Thing.”

All in all, this was a great show. It was intimate, and there’s always something heartwarming about seeing a small band interact with their dedicated fans.

Having seen Waterparks open for pop-punk giants before, it was endearing to see them as the stars of the show, and it’s clear there are even bigger splashes to come in their future.

Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of Waterparks on Facebook.

Allison O’Reilly is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at aoreill1@terpmail.umd.edu. 

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