(photo: Jason Shane)
“We’re from a town called San Francisco, California,” WATERS’ frontman Van Pierszalowski wryly, but proudly, informed the early comers Saturday night at The Warfield after the band had just ripped through set-opener “Over It”. It was clear from the start that Pierszalowski and company were happy to be home, even if it was just one night out of many on their lengthy North American tour in support of the band’s sophomore LP What’s Real, a tour on which they’re opening for indie dance duo Matt and Kim.
Riding the wave of What’s Real’s positive reception in both the local and national media, WATERS raced through a set that included eight tracks from that latest release, one oldie-but-goodie (“For The One”, off 2011’s Out In The Light), and an unexpected cover (more on that in a minute). Pierszalowski and his bandmates (guitarist Brian DaMert, keyboardist Sara DaMert, bassist Greg Sellin, and drummer Andrew Wales) could barely wipe the smiles off of their faces the whole night.
Clearly ecstatic that What’s Real is getting so much positive attention, WATERS is enjoying touring with Matt and Kim, a band that, at first glance, seems like an odd bedfellow for a guitar-driven indie pop act (the headliners deal solely in keyboards, drums, and samples). Guitarist DaMert noted after the set that, although the two bands’ sounds and approaches are quite different, their energy is very similar, and that’s made a good match on the road, allowing WATERS to win over audiences during their trek across the States.
And they did exactly that on Saturday at The Warfield. After often recognizing the large contingent from “WATERS Nation” (as they so warmly call their fanbase) that crowded the floor at the Market Street venue, Pierszalowski coaxed the growing masses in the rest of the theater into a fervor during the band’s last three tracks.
Before breaking out a surprisingly rock and roll cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” (yes, you read that correctly), he stated his intent to “unite the whole fucking room” with a song that he was confident everyone in the audience knew the lyrics to. At the song’s conclusion, he initiated everyone in the now nearly full theater, stating, “You are all now members of WATERS.”
This poignant, albeit amusing moment laid the foundation for the set’s two closing songs, What’s Real lead singles “Got To My Head” and “I Feel Everything”, where audience participation was at a high point. During the former track, Pierszalowski had the 2,250-person room jointly doling out some “rock and roll hand claps,” before he had the whole audience screaming during the the latter song’s refrain.
It was an emotional conclusion to the band’s set, and it gave the venue the shot of energy it needed before the headliners bounded onstage a short while later for their confetti-covered set of electronic-driven dance tracks.
Check out a full slate of photos from WATERS and Matt and Kim’s show at The Warfield below, and if you missed WATERS this time around, be sure you don’t flake on their upcoming local dates at Live 105’s BFD and Outside Lands.