The PBR was flowing in the hipster capital of the south as Van Pierszalowski sang into a bouquet of flowers. The WATERS vocalist, joined by Brian DaMert on guitar, Greg Sellin on bass, Andrew Wales on drums and Sara DaMert on keyboard, sang the title track from their latest disc “What’s Real,” marked by steady and poppy drumbeats, a fervently genuine chorus and some spacey, thoughtful breaks over an overall extremely catchy tune.
The up-and-coming openers also hit some of their previous favorite tunes from 2011’s album Out in the Light, particularly crowd pleaser “For the One,” which includes static noise underlying yearning, angsty vocals mixed with a few “whoaaaaa” harmonies, and a few heavier sounding solos thrown in. The new disc, however, really stole the spotlight with a bevy of awesome tunes that you can’t help but get stuck in your head.
There was also a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” which got the crowd pretty excited. The new disc’s first track, “Got to My Head,” however, perhaps perfectly conveys the band’s overall niche, a juxtaposing yet intertwined mix of controlled light, playful and sweet undertones with a crescendoing avalanche of sound on top that evolves into a passionate and unstable mudslide.
The five-piece delivered an energetic yet calm, cool and collected set filled with lots of blonde hair flips and some tambourine beats amongst a stage full of flowers, a tie in with the band’s album cover, though the disc’s bouquet has been caught on fire. There were no pyrotechnics for WATERS at The Orange Peel.
However, the second band of the evening, indie pop duo Matt & Kim, had a set that included balloons, confetti, a giant parachute and crowd twerking (a twist on crowd surfing). The anticipated act of the night recently released bouncy, hype disc New Glow, a more lyrically simple yet synth and rap experimental session that has been two years in the making.
The performance aspect of the set was unparalleled for a two-piece set, something similar to a Twenty-One Pilots performance but with drummer Kim Schifino doing all the stunts in between and sometimes during beats. This included a lot of dancing on top of her drumset and the most intense facial expressions I’ve ever seen at a concert. She was 100% into it, and so was the crowd. Matt Johnson didn’t let her steal all the tricks though, shredding on the keys while jumping, dancing and doing a combination of body movements I’m not sure what to call.
The throwbacks like “Let’s Go” and “Sidewalks” really got the crowd going, but some newer stuff that included a lot of synth and dirty beat-mixing action like “Stirred Up” brought the energy to new heights.
There was a lot of sex talk, too. Kim rocked a bra that a fan threw onto the stage, Matt dedicated a few songs to his and Kim’s sex life and at one point, Kim said, “I love a dude who’s down to crowd surf dick-down.” There was also a reference to swamp ass. The best part of the night came in the encore, though, when Kim ran onto the hands of the audience and twerked in the middle of the crowd.
Check out my exclusive interview with Van Pierszalowski of WATERS from after the show HERE.
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