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SHOW GALLERY + RECAP: Smallpools take their Night Shift tour with Grayscale and Fia James to Irving Plaza

Is co-headlining the future of touring?

Coming off the release of a new EP and single respectively, Smallpools and Grayscale take to the road together to bring them to live audiences. The most interesting part of any tour that sets out to combine multiple headliners is the crowd dynamic. With Smallpools and Grayscale both playing to different genres of music, it might seem like an interesting combination for fans of each band respectively. However, if there were any qualms about this, the crowd at Irving Plaza did not let it show for one second. While it was clear some goers had their favourite of the two, the energy brought to the stage by both bands was electric.

Grayscale, occupying the earlier slot in the New York show, were the first to take the stage and with it brought the legions of the pop-punk band’s fans. With crowd-surfers flying from the first few notes, the Philly band set the tone and the mood high for the night.  However, I found the true highlights of the show were in the band’s softer moments. The strength of a solid rock and high-energy band is often its ability to show range. Being able to so successfully bring the energy of the audience down, lead singer Collin Walsh managed to keep his audience engaged with soaring vocals. Beyond the vocals, the band offers a dynamic instrumentation from the usual sound profile of pop-punk. With five members, the band’s sound fills up the stage, but not in an overpowering way.

After a rousing set, it was Smallpools' turn to take the stage, which took a sharp but not unwelcome turn. Emerging in a technicolour display while radio frequencies flipping through 80s pop hits played, the band brought with them their colourful energy. If there is one thing Smallpools has proved successful at, it’s their ability to capture nostalgia, whether it’s from their 2013 single "Dreaming" that put the band on the map or the synths of the 80s. When I stay nostalgia, I don’t mean tired - rather, I mean that they capture the warmth that comes with it. The night bottled the same energy as a reunion of old friends coming together to sing along to their favorite songs. 

More and more acts seem to be splitting the stage and hitting the road together. While this may be instances of friends and fellow creatives getting to share the experience of touring, it is hard to ignore the larger truth: the cost of touring has become taxing for artists of all sizes. Despite the restructuring of the touring industry post-pandemic and how acts are trying to reshape their tours, this was one instance that the co-headlining aspect felt enhancing to the experience. The different but welcoming energies complemented each other. 





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