published: 16 /
Jamie Rowland is impressed by alternative rock act WATERS' energy and gusto, which is powerful enough to silence the whole crowd, in a support slot to Nada Surf at the KOKO in London
When playing before a big-name act, it can never be easy for the support band; you’ve got to accept that the majority of the crowd probably haven’t heard of you, and almost certainly won’t have bought their ticket with you in mind. WATERS came to the Koko supporting Nada Surf with two things in their favour: firstly, they have some name recognition in the shape of frontman Van Pierszalowski, previously of Port O’Brien. Secondly, they are a fucking amazing live band.
The band came out to a receptive, friendly crowd, and seemed to feed off of that energy immediately, blasting out tracks from their debut album, 'Out In the Light' with gusto, clearly having the time of their lives. In between songs, Pierszalowski seemed at once humbled and thrilled to have won the crowd over so easily; that age-old rock cliché of the singer telling the crowd how great they are seeming 100% genuine this time round, and like a figure-of-eight or a snake eating its own tail, that positivity comes right back round out of the audience and pumps itself into the next song.
When it came to WATERS’ finale – album closer ‘Mickey Mantle’ – Pierszalowski stepped away from his mic, saying “normally in smaller venues, we do this one like this – let’s see if it works here...” He walked to the front of the stage holding an acoustic guitar and asked the crowd to help sing along with the chorus. Somehow this band managed to silence everyone in the audience of one of London’s bigger rock venues and sing a song totally unamplified. When it came to that chorus, you could see the emotion on the singer’s face as the whole crowd joined in singing “Forever! Forever!” along with him. It was something pretty special, and with any luck – and if there’s any justice - WATERS will be back soon headlining their own tour.