Show Review: Grayscale Returns to Chop Suey


Author: Diana Sambotin

Grayscale, an alternative-rock/pop-punk band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, went back on tour this spring with their tour called Some Spring Shows, which hit cities across pretty much the entire U.S. (and Vancouver B.C.), before they set off supporting The Summer Set on The Blossom Tour.

Grayscale has been one of my favorite bands since around 2017; I was instantly hooked by their pop punk sound when I first heard their music, and I’ve loved watching them grow their sound throughout the years. Their most recent album, Umbra, has loads of horns and choirs, which is a big shift from their first few releases. Needless to say, though, they’ve made the shift well, and it is also reflected in their live show.

Just a 5-minute walk up Madison Street, Chop Suey is the perfect venue for Seattle University students to visit and experience live music. Although it can get tight, this 550-person venue has its own special charm, from the vintage light-up signs to the obscure paintings along the wall of the bar area.

The first time I saw a show at Chop Suey happened to have been on Grayscale’s Nella Vita Tour in September of 2019. A pop punk show being my introduction to this venue seems perfectly fitting in retrospect, with the intimate room, unique décor and all.

The Seattle stop on the Some Spring Shows tour was on Monday, April 3, and although a Monday show is never ideal, it was an amazing performance. Supported by Worry Club and Taylor Acorn, the energy was in the room from the time the show started all the way through the end of Grayscale’s set.

Worry Club, a Chicago indie-punk band, got the crowd warmed up with some upbeat tracks that were almost impossible not to dance along to. Next up was Taylor Acorn, an artist from Pennsylvania who grew up on early 90’s and 2000s grunge and pop-punk. Her energy was also through the roof, and got the audience ready to see the headliner: Grayscale.

From the minute Grayscale stepped on stage, the crowd was revved up, and it was obvious there were some big fans in the crowd (including myself). They started out with a few tracks from Umbra, which included some amazing horn ensemble breaks on “Over Now” and “Without You,” and even a saxophone solo from the guitar player on “Motown”! They worked their way backwards through their discography, with some songs off of Nella Vita (including “In Violet” and “Baby Blue”), their second LP, before slowing down the set with a few acoustic songs. The first of the acoustics was “Forever Yours,” a song which holds a special place for me as this is the first song that got me into Grayscale, and then a deep cut, “Slept” which is rare to hear live nowadays.

They closed out the set as any band does–big. After saying, “we don’t play this song live much anymore,” singer Collin Walsh started the last run of songs with “Slipping Away,” and we also got to hear “If I Ever See You Again” which was a treat (another seldom played song). Then we took a dance break to “Diamond” which was a groovy one-off single before Umbra came out, before ending out the set the only way Grayscale ever ends their sets, with the staples and fan-favorites, “Fever Dream” and “Atlantic.”

Watching this band grow throughout the years has been amazing, and watching their live performance grow has been just as cool. Their stage presence and comfort on stage has improved tremendously since the first time I saw them open a show in 2018, and their dedicated fans have stuck with them throughout all of their experimental growth. There was some moshing and even a few stage divers throughout the set, signaling that even though their sound has changed, the nature of Grayscale is still there and strong. This was for sure one of my top shows in the last year or so, maybe of all time, but then again, I’ve never ever had a bad experience seeing Grayscale live.

Always a cherry on top is meeting the band after the show, and as I had had quite the day before the show, I was exhausted – so I only waited around for a bit. Luckily, I got to meet singer Collin Walsh, and it was hard for us to believe that out of the six times I’ve seen them live this was the first time we formally met. This band has done a lot for me as I’ve grown up and I can definitely say I won’t be slowing down on seeing them live at any point in the future, although I may need to retire from the pit to the back of the room pretty soon…



Diana Sambotin | KXSU Production Director

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