TVD Live: Waters at
the Roxy, 1/22

PHOTOS: MANNY HEBRON | There’s one thing that’s almost as exciting as seeing a great show, and it’s seeing a band in the early stages of being great—where you know that they’re really good now but after 200 shows, they’ll be amazing. This is Waters, a stellar work in progress with infinite potential and we were thrilled to be there to see the very beginnings of what could possibly be our new favorite band.

The best thing going on in alternative rock right now is that it is indefinable—there are synths, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, tambourines, sleigh bells, mellotrons…banjos—you name it…alternative means anything. Alternative rock I think has been burst wide open and made nebulous due to its age and of course technology. If you’re between the ages of let’s say 18 and 35 (which most new young bands are) chances are that you grew up listening to everything—The Beatles (we hope), The Notorious B.I.G, LCD Soundsystem, Dave Matthews, Jay Z, Soundgarden, Faith No More, Fiona Apple, Spoon, N’ Sync etc. Having influences and access (thank you internet) to all genres and styles of music have made lots of indefinable sounds, all lumped under “alternative rock.” Enter Waters

I didn’t know anything about Waters going into this show except that they were from San Francisco and that I really loved the record, so I was surprised to see band with an acoustic guitar up front in an “alternative rock band.” Their sound is jammy, catchy, it jangles and it rocks. I can’t really describe it , except for being Waters. One of my favorite things is that they wear their hometown on their sleeve, possessing a wonderful air of San Francisco charm—the charm of peace and love that is ever-present in the place that birthed the summer of love and where hippies once ruled, and in a sense still do, but that’s for another article.

Waters is very warm and comfortable on stage and exceptionally engaged with their audience. They even handed out flowers during their show, which I would normally roll my eyes at if they hadn’t proceeded into a crushing electric guitar fueled jam shortly thereafter.

They are still perfecting the art of putting on a show and for being relatively new are stellar at reading an audience’s energy, hitting the song currently in radio rotation and playing some older gems for the die hards in the front of the room who knew all the words to all the songs. Waters gives off the feeling that there is no us and them, but that we are all here at this experience together.

Waters frontman Van Pierszalowski (formerly of Porter O’Brien), commanded the entire room to silence to play a song acoustic without a mic. In 100 shows this will be magic—it wasn’t quite there yet, but Van I salute you and love the idea. Waters ended the with a run of some crushers that reminded me of “Z” and “Evil Urges” era My Morning Jacket. Watch out Jim James someone might be creeping on your “best live band” Sheriff’s badge.

The set was only 45 minutes long but the band immediately came into the crowd talking with fans, manning the merch booth and signing everything for everyone. This is the kind of behavior that makes a career LAST—for a long time. I think these guys are exciting and for a cranky, picky broad like myself who doesn’t get moved or even crack a smile that often, the adjective “exciting” is a BIG word in my dictionary.

So, go ahead and be open to feel everything.

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