I’ve been into various forms of pop punk since ’01, and despite loving a lot of bands and having been to a lot of shows… there’s only been a select few that I can say I KNEW literally + definitively changed my life (and me as a person), from the first time I saw/heard them. Blink-182, Something Corporate, Brand New, Alk Trio, Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance… and Waterparks.
Other than Brand New + MCR, Waterparks have been the one I value the most because I didn’t find them in my formative years, I found them after my rebirth; once I had to start my life over after getting sober. Recovery isn’t about returning to who you were prior to your “disease” (substance abuse/addiction, in my case), per se, but it’s about uncovering your pain, discovering your strengths, and reclaiming your life in a better light; building a life + version of self you don’t want to escape from.
I found the band in late 2017, a little over a year after I got sober, and it’s like they were this (very critical) missing piece I needed. Recalling hearing those first opening of chords of “Hawaii” for the first time… it was reminiscent of the first time I heard “Understatement” by New Found Glory or “Hurricane” by Something Corporate as a junior in high school… music fills in the gaps and is a balm for the soul; a catalyst for self discovery, exploration, + expression. Hearing Waterparks for the first time reminded me of who I was before the world, and my addictions, got ahold of me. I found a home and myself in their songs.
No matter the lyrical content, or if an album is conceptual… a song stripped down or brimming with anger… the conviction that shines through in @AwstenKnight’s voice, coupled with the ever-enhancing musical accompaniment of @UnderscoreGeoff + Otto… Waterparks has been so very instrumental in my recovery; they have literally and figuratively saved my life more than a handful of times.
For all the times I have wanted to drink or be self destructive in 2019, more times than not I have turned to their catalog and chosen to scream, cry, or sing at the top of my lungs instead. To hear somebody else openly mention being sober, albeit Awsten’s reasons are different than mine… I felt so seen, y’all.
LAST NIGHT: I spent the past month and a half (after that fun-filled 48 consecutive days of working OT) getting myself physically prepared for last night’s Fandom show at House of Blues Dallas. I wanted to dance + mosh like a kid again, and let me tell you something… *THIS* FANDOM FELT LIKE THE FAMILY I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED. All the attendees I met last night were kind, friendly, and playful. So many young folks giving me GREAT HOPE for our future. I felt so fucking free last night and was able to forget about all the relentless agony 2019 bestowed upon me.
I had the best time of… honestly the entire decade, and w/out being overtly obvious EVERYTHING came full circle when I crowdsurfed for the first, last + only time: during the climax of the song, “Turbulent” (1:57 mark).
The lyrics are:
“You had a taste of the life,
But you grew complacent
And my sanity laced itself
Up in the back of your mind
And that’s where you left me to die”
~then the breakdown kicks in~
AND THESE FOLX ALL HELD ME OVER THEIR HEADS allowing me to writhe + scream as the lights shut off, AS the breakdown kicked in (!!!) … it was surreal, euphoric and cathartic beyond belief.
I can’t possibly thank the band or the fans enough for making last night everything that it was.
So long and GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE, 2019.
You almost killed me, but you taught me I’m stronger than my demons.