On November 5, 2015 I had the pleasure of seeing the very talented, Smallpools on the final night of their American Love Tour at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. Having only formed in 2013, Smallpools, which consists of Sean Scanlon (vocals and keys), Mike Kamerman (guitar), Joseph Intile (bass), and Beau Kuther (drums), are still a relatively young band, but the energy they bring to the stage would make you think they’ve been at this for ages.
I found out about Smallpools earlier last year and was immediately hooked on their sound, and I saw the band live for the first time last fall when they performed at my school’s fall concert. It was amazing to see them go from performing at a tiny college show where few people knew the 4 songs that they had at the time, to headlining a tour for their first full length album, Lovetap!.
Being the last show of the tour, everyone involved was a bit emotional, but were all equally excited to be back in Los Angeles since Smallpools, Phoebe Ryan, and machineheart all call the city “home.”
Thanks to the lovely LA traffic I arrived to the venue late, and by the time I arrived machineheart was halfway through their set. I hadn’t heard of them before the show, so I was surprised to see former He Is We guitarist, Trevor Kelly, up on stage. Their lyrics and melodies were catchy to say the least and it was almost impossible to not jump along with lead singer, Stevie Scott as she mesmerized the crowd with her sweet, feminine voice. I’m a sucker for female-fronted bands (girl power!) so I will definitely be checking out more of their music.
Next up was solo artist Phoebe Ryan. Her energetic pop sound and charismatic stage presence had everyone paying attention to her set. Her voice was similar to that of Tove Lo, and it was hard not to fall in love with her. The most memorable part of her set was probably when she performed a mashup of R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and Miguel’s “Do You” which had everyone in the room singing along.
Finally the band we were all waiting for took the stage. Smallpools made their entrance and opened with their song “Over & Over,” and the crowd went crazy. A few songs into their set, Sean, Mike, and Joe all left the stage while Beau had a five minute drum solo that left everyone in awe of his talent. Upon returning to the stage, Sean told an anecdote about how their song “Karaoke” came to be, mentioning how the melody was similar to “Human” by The Killers, one their favorite bands. Sean and Mike went out to a karaoke bar in Santa Monica one night and told everyone that they were going to sing the song by The Killers. They switched it up and sang their own lyrics over the track, which resulted in the amazing mashup we heard at the concert.
During the song “Lovetap!” Sean asked everyone in the audience to put their phones and cameras away and just live in the moment. This is something I personally loved because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to realize how important it is to actually experience shows and not just watch it through a tiny screen.
In the middle of their set, the guys decided to slow things down for a bit and do a “campfire singalong” (Editor’s note: Hence what we try to do with our Listening Party segments. They totally get it!) complete with a virtual fire on an iPad. They performed an acoustic mashup of Major Lazer’s “Lean On” and Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me.” Everyone was quick to sing along, and I love Major Lazer so I was ecstatic about this cover.
One of the highlights of the show came during the song “Killer Whales” when the crew threw two giant, inflatable whales into the crowd. For some reason this really made everyone go crazy, myself included. Sadly, I wasn’t able to snag one at the end of the show.
Smallpools ended the show with their popular song “Dreaming” which had new and old fans alike dancing and singing their hearts out. The color lights that lit up the room paired with the band’s infectious indiepop sound created an environment that I wish I could go back to. I definitely recommend seeing Smallpools live if you ever get the opportunity.