Beware of Falling Limbs

Waterparks, Loveless, and Sophie Powers @ History

March 11th, 2024 will likely go down in my memory as one of the most chaotic, incredible nights of my life. Waterparks made a triumphant return to Toronto for the first time since opening for My Chemical Romance in 2022, with support from Loveless and Sophie Powers. With dates for the Sneaking Out of Heaven tour selling out across North America, History was undoubtedly packed to the gills with flashes of red, green and black. Having splurged for VIP access, I avoided the seemingly endless queue, and even got a quote from lead singer Awsten Knight. When I asked about how he felt about the tour, he proceeded to rap: “Oh man, in the house of Drake, Otto looking fake, gonna drink a Faygo...uh…awaygo.” Clearly, I take this unpaid job very seriously, and he’s thrilled to be surrounded by all the Drake memorabilia present in the venue. One of the perks of VIP was early access to the floor, which allowed me to a prime spot just one row back from the barrier. This also gave me a front row seat to a hilariously disastrous Q&A session with the band, which discussed everything from Kate Middleton’s BBL, to how we feel about the monarchy, and if Awsten could win in a fight against a moose. To that, with the utmost confidence, he replied “I think I could kill anything, but I’m the only thing that can kill me.” As for me, the only thing I’m optimistic about is the band’s ability to put on a good show. This review stands as a testament to that.

Toronto local Sophie Powers kicked off the night with blinding charisma and powerful vocals. With songs you could strut around to, the audience was immediately hooked and bouncing along. Featuring an all-girl band that had the queer people in the crowd agape, it’s a wonder that she’s not more popular. Out of all the performers that night, she was the only one to hop off stage and reach over the barrier, seemingly unafraid of the crowd. Her lyrics caught on right away, and even though I didn’t know any of her music, I found myself able to clap and sing along like a superfan. She walked around the stage with the purpose and pure confidence of someone well past their first performance of the tour, even convincing the audience to do different maneuvers with their flashlights. Her drummer was nonchalant about her talent, easily pounding out driving rhythms that grounded the whole performance. The three of them as a unit created an absolute powerhouse that left everyone wanting more. 

Sophie Powers. Photo by Finch Strub

Loveless followed with a set that convinced me that they would have been perfect for Warped Tour. Frontman Julian Comeau really can do it all, switching easily from guttural screams to stunning belted high notes. Complete with a generous helping of sass and a great band to back him up, their performance was magical. At certain points I could have been convinced that I was watching Gerard Way. Having gained popularity on TikTok these past few years, they paid homage to their claim to fame by playing a few covers, including Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever”. I’m not sure who hurt me to make me scream along to this song in the way that I did, but it was visceral and completely freeing. They played a mix of older a newer songs, pleasing everyone from the longtime fans to the newbies, finishing each song with his trademark “Thanks!”. Comeau has an affinity for getting the crowd to scream. At one point, he got the audience to thank the sound tech Alex in unison, as well as chant “chowder!” as an homage to his Newfoundland familial roots. Their performance was probably the highlight of the evening for me, and I had the absolute time of my life screaming and jumping around. As a final note: Sometime during all of this, I made a heart with my hands, and he pointed and smiled at me. It was awesome.

Julian Comeau of Loveless. Photo by Finch Strub.

Before I started writing for Demo, I never thought that being kicked in the head could be considered an occupational hazard. Thanks to the seemingly never-ending onslaught of crowd surfers during Houston trio Waterparks’ set, I was proved very wrong. This is no fault of the band, but a lot of my night was spent trying not to get crushed from every possible side. The experience was stressful, and I watched a lot of people get hurt trying to keep the surfers up above their heads. Though security did a great job throughout the night, Toronto winning the award for most crowd surfers on tour so far was mostly just a curse. This being said, I did enjoy the show. The backdrop was outstanding and full of their classic theatrics, still playing into the themes of religious guilt and trauma from their recent record Intellectual Property. The first backdrop was a house from which the band emerged. Knight, sporting green face paint in the shape of upside down crosses and a silver jumpsuit, was immediately energetic. They played only a few full songs in this 'act' of the performance, instead favouring a medley of tunes from their 2021 release Greatest Hits. A definite highlight for me was their entirely unexpected cover of Liz Phair’s “Why Can’t I”. Awsten Knight has always had good taste in covers, and this was certainly no exception. After a few more songs, a white screen came down on which a video was projected, accompanied by a robotic female voice. It told us that “everybody is a god once you make it out of the property”, a nickname for the aforementioned house set. Following this odd (and kind of creepy) interlude, the backdrop was revealed to be the same building as before, but overgrown with vines and featuring mannequins dressed in red by the front door. Knight appeared sporting paint-splattered overalls and gardening gloves to match.

Overgrown Stage. Photo by Finch Strub

The second act started with a remix of their song “Starfucker”, instead swapping the title for Knight’s alter ego Soulsucker. I applaud the band for playing a variety of songs from different albums, including an approximately fifteen minute acoustic set. Knight moved to the back of the venue to play piano, which he said that he learned specifically for this tour. During this time, guitarist Geoff Wigington remained onstage to accompany him with some beautiful ambient melodies. Sometime between all of this, after a picture of Pitbull was given to Knight by an audience member, there was a brief break to debate whether Knight looked more like Mr. Worldwide or Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins. Despite my own opinions, Mr. Worldwide won this time. One of the last songs before the encore was the smash hit “I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Want To Die Anymore”, which recently hit 100 million streams on Spotify. The last songs of the night were some of their most intense. At this point, exhausted and overheating, this was easily the most overwhelming part for me. With the added pitfall of the crowd surfers, I kind of just wanted to go home. We were directed by Knight to go wild for the last ten seconds of the final song, during which people slammed and jumped around. Though I enjoyed the music, I was almost relieved when it was over. 

With all three groups serving alt-rock realness, this was truly a night for the books, for better or for worse. Though I met plenty of lovely people in the crowd who looked out for me throughout the show, it was still a stressful experience to be on the floor. From getting kicked in the head or crushed by surfers, to being forced forward by the growing mosh pit, it was definitely not smooth sailing. For this reason alone, I preferred the openers sets. I was able to truly enjoy the music and have fun, without having to worry about someone’s full body weight crashing down on me if I didn’t pay attention. That being said, Waterparks were great, and it was lovely to meet them. They put on a great show, I just wish I could have appreciated it more.