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Show Review: Smallpools and Grayscale bring colorful multi-genre show to Phoenix

There’s no better place to go on a Saturday night than downtown Phoenix’s Crescent Ballroom, and those in the know crowded into the venue for an intimate show featuring Smallpools and Grayscale with support from Caroline Romano and The Romance. 

The stacked bill deserves its own moment — it’s rare to get to see so many acts with one ticket, and plenty of fans arrived early to take advantage of a full itinerary. This meant getting to know Caroline Romano before she joined Smallpools on stage later on in the night, and it meant getting a nice variety of styles under the pop-rock umbrella by the end of the final song. 

Case in point: Grayscale shifted gears into their signature pop punk, playing mostly from Nella Vita (favorites “Baby Blue,” “In Violet,” and “Painkiller Weather,” among others) but also gracing us with an unreleased song, “Let Go.” Frontman Colin Patrick Walsh waxed poetic about how much the band loves Phoenix, and the cheers from the crowd proved the love goes both ways. 

All eyes were on Smallpools to cap off a fun-filled evening, and the trio delivered with selections from the past 11 (!) years and lights that painted the room in bright, happy colors to match the mood. Anyone who has seen Smallpools in the past is familiar with the story Sean Scanlon tells before “Killer Whales” — in the early days of the band, the only Google search results for “smallpools” debated the ethics of keeping big whales in small pools — but it’s always a delight to see the inflatable orca bouncing on top of the crowd.      

The set also featured covers of “Everyone Wants to Rule the World” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” as medleys with “Simulation” and “Swayze,” and the fans were involved at every opportunity. Still, it’s no surprise that the closer of “Dreaming” was the one that really brought the house down, even after a decade. The modern classics are hard to top, after all.