The Night Shift Tour Takes on Neumos – Show Review


Author: Diana Sambotin

On Sunday, April 28th, 2024, The Night Shift Tour made its stop at Capitol Hill’s own Neumos. The tour was a co-headliner between indie-rock band Smallpools and pop-punk/alternative-rock band Grayscale. For some background, I saw Smallpools way back in 2017, so when they announced a tour, I was excited to see what they had been up to during our “time apart.” On top of that, Grayscale is one of my absolute favorite bands, whom I’ve been seeing consistently since 2018, whenever I’ve had the chance. In fact, this show would be the ninth time I’ve caught one of their shows.  

From afar, this tour seemed like it would consist of a very wide variety of sounds. Smallpools have their own unique spark, as the singer, Sean Scanlon, plays a keyboard/synthesizer while he sings, while Grayscale stems from heavy pop-punk roots, with their second album, Adornment, being one of my “gateway” albums into the genre. That said, Grayscale has slowly moved towards a brighter sound, with horns and happier guitar riffs spread throughout their more recent releases, so I could see how this tour would bring these different areas of music together. The two openers were The Romance and Caroline Romano, both of whom I was unfamiliar with, but thoroughly enjoyed watching perform.  


The Romance 

The Romance opened the night of excellent music with his edgy black guitar, accompanied by a drummer, and catchy guitar riffs and choruses that had the whole room tapping their feet. His set, although short, was filled to the brim with lyrics that expressed anger, confidence, and every emotion in between. A track that stood out to me was “I’m Not Crazy,” which had a very lively guitar part and had people singing along by the end of the song. Throughout his time on stage, he mentioned that he was based in Los Angeles, and I can only imagine this means that he has worked with countless producers throughout his young career. After his set, I watched as people flocked to his merch table, which tells me that he gained lots of new fans from his performance. I will be on the lookout for his future releases, and I expect him to gain a lot of new listeners throughout this tour. 


Caroline Romano 

Caroline Romano is a 22-year-old alternative-pop artist from Nashville, Tennessee. From the second Caroline stepped on stage, my friends and I were hooked. Her musical range was instantly clear, as her first song started off very melodiously, but didn’t hesitate to explode into a huge sound with lots of jumping and dancing from her as accompaniment. After a few songs, she commented on how this was her first tour ever, which was honestly hard to believe given her confidence on stage and ability to work a crowd. My favorite song she performed was called “Tell Her I Said Hi,” and the friends I was with, and I decided she reminded us a lot of Taylor Acorn and Charlotte Sands, in the content of her lyrics and instrumentals combined. Caroline has a great future as an up-and-coming artist, and I’m excited to see where she goes next! 



As I’ve previously mentioned, I am no stranger to Grayscale or their live performances. I have gone so far as to see them in four different states and gave a presentation on them to my capstone class this year. Something I love about Grayscale is the constant changes to their sound, style, and production on their live shows, which is usually my answer when asked how I’m not bored of seeing the same band repeatedly. This time around, new lights and effects were added to the visual aspect of their show, which made it very interesting to watch. 

They started the night off strong with one of my favorites, called “Just Right,” from their third album Nella Vita, and instantly transitioned to another track off that album, “Twilight (My Heaven),” a song of theirs I hadn’t heard live yet. They played a good share of songs from each release, including “Dirty Bombs” and “Motown” from their most recent release, Umbra, with a saxophone feature from their guitar player, Andrew Kyne. They hit their second release, Adornment, with the tracks “Forever Yours” and “Fever Dream,” which, together, showcase their wide range from acoustic to heavier, more instrumental styles. Finally, the band ended their set with “Not Afraid to Die,” a one-off single that will hopefully be on the next album. 

At the end of the day, I feel like live performances can really hook you to a band, and that’s what happened with me and Grayscale. Besides their songs just being very well-produced and lyrically complex, their stage presence is a strength, and they never fail to put on an engaging and entertaining show. I am hopeful that I’ll be able to raise my Grayscale count to ten soon! 



Soon after Grayscale left the stage, everything was set up for the second headliner, the last act of the night, Smallpools. Having seen them seven years ago, I didn’t have many memories from their show, but one thing I could remember was that they were incredibly fun, high energy, and memorable on the stage. They instantly had me hooked when the second song they played was “Passenger Side,” a song I remember playing on repeat after seeing them many years ago. I was a little worried going in, since I wasn’t very familiar with their more recent music but was presently surprised at the number of old songs they played (that I still somehow remembered all of the words from). Another highlight for me was probably my favorite Smallpools song, “American Love” which featured a glockenspiel (an instrument I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a context outside of my old band concerts). There was a crowd walkthrough that everyone loved, and I enjoyed watching from my seat on the balcony (I’m getting too old to stand through so many shows!!!).  

The last few songs were high energy, with there being a chosen crowd member (who happened to be right next to us on the balcony) to throw singer Sean his tambourine during “Million Bucks”. This was a risky move since he had to throw the tambourine across the room from above, to the stage, on cue, without hitting anyone who may have been standing in its flightpath. After a successful throw and catch, the room exploded with cheers. The last song of the night was one of their catchiest songs, called “Dreaming,” which is an excellent place to start for a new Smallpools listener. Their show was electric, and I’m excited for them to tour again, as I’ll definitely try to make my way to a show in the future. 


Overall, the Night Shift tour was one to remember, as it showcased many talents and genres, and left us leaving Neumos very happy. A post-show tradition for me and my friends is a trip to Dick’s for root beer floats, and there is no better way to end an already-amazing night with a float. I can’t wait to see any and all of these artists again soon! 


Diana Sambotin I KXSU Production Director

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