A spectacle like you’ve never seen took place at the intimate Crescent Ballroom. Smallpools and Grayscale brought their magic to Phoenix for ‘The Night Shift Tour’. Joining them on this leg was pop-punker The Romance and pop star Caroline Romano.  

The Romance

Starting the show was New Jersian artist The Romance. His sound is a classic pop-punk sound. It’s full of emotion and doesn’t hold back. With a song like “Fu2urface”, he absolutely turned some heads. The crowd started off a bit slow and low energy, as it goes. The Romance absolutely turned the vibe around, having the crowd head-banging and jumping by the end of his set.

Pop-punk music is meant to disturb the peace and contrast the status quo. Current pop punk artists doesn’t always feel like they captures the essence of the classics we all know. The Romance definitely tries and comes pretty damn close. Not only with his sound, but his song material. He played “Animal” and even he found the audience’s reaction amusing. They loved it, but it caught them off guard, especially when he sang “I need your ass in my hand!” and then proceeded to say that he needed to f*ck whoever the song was about. It was jarring and the crowd immediately took to it.

He was an amazing opener. He got the crowd on their feet and ramped up the energy. After his set he took a few pictures with some people in the crowd and headed out. The lingering energy was full of anticipation for the rest of the show, exactly how it’s supposed to feel after an opener.

Caroline Romano

With a running start, Caroline Romano took the stage. Her stage presence can best be described as ‘Pop It-Girl Superstar”. She is at times precious, other times engaging, or seductive or casual, whatever the song calls for. There wasn’t an ounce of nervousness shown as she skipped across the stage. It was obvious many in the audience hadn’t heard of her, but she didn’t seem to care. In fact, she definitely made a few new fans.

There is a captivating energy about her. The stage presence plays a part but her vibrance was infectious. “girl in a china shop” blew my mind. It was amazing to see female rage in such a beautiful outburst. The crowd was also taken back and immediately drawn in. There was a collective therapeutic rage as she sang and threw her body around the stage. I was mesmerized by her the most in that moment. Not only is the song incredible, her physicality of emotion is such a sight.

She also played her newest single “Doesn’t Matter”. To get the crowd involved, she asked everybody to gasp with her at the end of the prechorus. It was adorable to hear everybody play along and see her smile after the fact. 

In the end, she absolutely wow’d the crowd. And she looked to be having a blast on stage, which spread to her performance and to the audience. Her vocals were KILLER, floating through every song and hitting every note perfectly. There was also a very deep emotional aspect to her performance. It’s obvious she cares a lot about everything she writes and it’s beautiful to hear and see that emotion live.


Dual headliner Grayscale came out swinging. Frontman Collin Walsh is like a pop-punk Matty Healy, in a good way. He has a mysterious, bad boy, sexiness about him as he performs but when the music stops, his friendly personality slips through the cracks. And his voice! His vocal control is amazing, being able to blend smoothness and throw in a rough edge when the song calls for it. His stage presence is suave and he makes it hard to take your eyes off of him.

He also told the crowd a special anecdote about how the band wrote their song “In Violet” with Phoenix band The Maine.

The entire band is dripping with talent. They all have a casual vibe to them as they play, simply enjoying the music and being on stage. They play with ease, allowing the music to almost flow through them. It feels like how you imagine a band to be, simple as that. They all play together, supporting the lead vocalist and allowing him to lead the crowd. They all elevate each other.

I think the best way to describe their performance is if black and white was colorful. They have a bright energy while also staying… rough? Sexy. But not in a weird way. In a pop-punk boyband way. They’re kind of mysterious and casual, but passionate. The energy throughout the entire set was electric, the crowd jumping and singing along the entire time.


Flashing lights, flying whales, Caroline Romano, and more were brought to Smallpools set. There was an incredible energy from beginning to end. Crescent Ballroom felt special, having such an incredible spectacle in such an intimate space. It elevated the experience for everyone, getting to party with their favorite band so closely. And trust me, some of the fans in this crowd were diehards.

They opened the show with “Night Shift” from their newest EP Ghost Town Road (east). The setlist then spanned 11 years, covering tracks from their 2013 EP’s and singles like “Over and Over”, to their latest releases like “Fake a Happy Face!” In a fun surprise, they brought out opener Caroline Romano to perform a cover of “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac.
Some other fun moments included a seamless transition from their song “Simulation” into “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. Frontman Sean Scanlon also told a fun story about the earlier years of the band and how, everytime they would Google their name, articles about killer whales in small pools would show up. So, they wrote “Killer Whales”, released in 2014. To accompany the song, a giant inflatable whale was thrown into the crowd and subsequently tossed in the air for the entire song.
They also got the crowd involved for “Million Bucks”. They found a fan in the crowd and tested his hand eye coordination with a tambourine toss. Basically, Scanlon needed him to toss him the instrument during the song. Guitarist Michael Kamerman asked the kid his name, which was Kollin, with a K… which he then proceeded to playfully poke at – all in good fun, for everyone.
Drummer Beau Kuther and guitarist Daniel Kerrigan spent a lot of the show together, with Kerrigan walking up to the drums many times for different songs.  But the band as a whole were very in sync the entire show and it’s obvious they all love what they do. 
The band originally formed in 2013, so they’re not new to the stage by any means. I mention this to say they are seasoned performers and know exactly what they’re doing. And man, did they put on a show! Every song had the crowd moving and screaming. The band was energetic and fun and downright talented. The performance was excellent and the show was stunning. There’s no other words.
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