6:30 pm seems a little early for a show to start. Not just the doors, but the actual show? I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people missed the first opening act Sleep On It due to event information confusion. More like Slept THROUGH It!! Am I right?! (Yeah, not me though. Nosiree.) At the time that Sleep On It hit the stage I was wide awake. Although, unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a crowd for these guys, I’m sure their pop-punk energy was enough for the fifty spectators standing at the front of the stage to be revved up for what would be a wild night of catchy pop punk tunes, hopping around, and pretty cringe-worthy jokes and banter.
The two-member group Chapel that followed had the red stage lights flashing hard for their opening track, but these red lights meant “Go”, if you know what I mean. Now that’s anarchy. The overdubbed vocal tracks, crazy delay effects on the vocals, and super heavy bass on the drums made this two-piece band sound like four or five people. With Carter Hardin on guitar and vocals and Kortney Grinwis on drums, these two gave off this super strong sense of friendship and harmony, and projected those vibes onto the very engaged and receptive audience (which was still only like sixty people). Carter’s gift for gab complimented his theatrical moves (such as shooting down imaginary clay pigeons). His eccentric stage presence, which included bizarre facial expressions, body spasms, and distorted strutting on stage, all seemingly cocaine-induced (but maybe they weren’t …just saying) were incredibly entertaining, and jived well with their solid sound that we were all vibing to. Their originals including “Don’t You Love Me” and “See You Again” made for a solid setlist, and their very dance and groove-friendly rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep” added some culture and experimentation to their performance – almost like the experimentation Hardin engaged in by playing shoeless after one of his shoes hit an audience member square in the face.
I found it rather fuckin’ strange how there was a live sound check between Chapel and As It Is’ set. It was quite unpleasant and not very professional, if I do say myself. I was outraged!
As It Is nailed the competition. It was easily their show. They flew out onto the stage, jumping right into their set. One of the guitars was cutting out a bit and the backing vocals were a little low at first, BUT once those problems were resolved, the rest of the show was as smooth as diarrhea. The lights were going crazy, the crowd was going wild, and frontman Patty Walters was electric with his jumps and microphone throwing abilities. They were welcoming as fuck, and showed great band cohesion by walking around the stage, hugging and singing with each other. They were all smiles. Busting out solid tracks like “Concrete” and their big hit “Pretty Little Distance,” these guys have really built a solid repertoire. Walter’s energy was outta control. I don’t think he ever tired out, especially not when he was flying through the air after jumping off drummer Patrick Foley’s kick drum. Nobody at the show was sleeping through this set, I tell you hhhwhat. Pulling their buddy out on stage to sing the chorus to “Cheap Shots & Setbacks,” these guys demonstrated little to no limitations. Nearing the end of their set, Walters and guitarist Benjamin Langford-Biss traded instruments. With Langford-Biss securing the microphone and Walters now on guitar, Langford-Biss was able to hop down into the crowd and sing with all the wide-eyed ladies and gentlemen who stood by their toes and partied to their music all set.
Waterparks The headliners. They may have been headlined by As It Is. The three-piece came out onto the stage to a screaming crowd, but I wouldn’t say that their set was as water-pants-inducing as the preceding bands’ sets were, if you know what I mean. Their sound quality was great and guitarist Geoff Wigington did a pretty solid job at hopping and dancing around with his guitar, but I just didn’t feel the same amount of passion and energy from them as the rest of the show offered. The minimal crowd that was there seemed to dig it, however. People were screaming, singing and they were even invited by frontman Awsten Knight to harmonize with him. Knight was pretty decent with his crowd engagement and with compassion for human life – he stopped the show because one of the seventy crowd members apparently fainted. That was cool. I thought it was going to be the end of their set after only fifty minutes of playtime, they came back on for an encore and played a couple more tunes. It was a pretty short set. Maybe they weren’t feeling it either, or maybe they’re still just fresh on the scene.
Written by Keenan Kerr
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson