Concert Photography & Event Review: Grayscale // Observatory North Park 7.16.22
Grayscale in grayscale by Lexy Bouras
Last Saturday, a warm San Diego night in North Park was shaken up by the electric liveliness of a band from Pennsylvania- a band none other than Grayscale. Personally (as I tend to put my personal spin on things here at Us For Once), I was hyped. While Grayscale has been jamming out together for the better part of a decade, I had the pleasure of being introduced to their music three short years ago, during their Nella Vita album cycle.
Side note, if you're completely new to this band, that record is not to be missed. While their debut, Adornment, and latest, Umbra are unique heavy hitters, Nella Vita is, in my opinion, the perfect introduction to Grayscale. It's right in the middle: upbeat, emotional, just the right amount of classic pop punk and experimental 1975-esque synth, and (speaking from experience) powerful enough to get you through a messy breakup... it is, as one of the tracks is titled, "just right". But I digress. Point is, got into Grayscale during Nella Vita, and due to life circumstances, missed them on the corresponding tour. Due to more life circumstances, I also missed most of their set when they played Sad Summer Fest 2021. So this... this was my chance. Iwas excited to see them and have the chance to photograph them.
As the openers (shoutout The Ivy, Bearings, and Guardin!) went by, I grew more and more excited and anxious for the main lights to go down, wondering if Grayscale would fulfill my large expectations. While I will admit, this was not the biggest crowd I’ve seen at the Observatory (pop punk shows are typically hosted at the nearby SOMA), as soon as the band came on stage and opened with "Let It Rain", absolutely everyone went wild. The energy was there and then some! Despite the venue's supposed rule against it, there were crowdsurfers going up almost immediately, and the quintessential pop punk finger pointing was rampant. The crowd was insane and super fun, as documented by these crowd photos! Collin Patrick Walsh is a very engaging frontman, and the band blends seamlessly into each other. They were a treat to watch, easy to photograph, and their blended energies translated into free flowing music with lots of heart behind it.
As you can tell by now, I believe that in order to create meaningful art, it’s important for journalists to cover things they are passionate about. I can safely say that passion got me while I was in the photo pit. While shooting during "Palette", I was so overcome by the emotions that song had and the ways the band has tied into my life, that I was singing and bopping along while pressing my camera’s shutter button. It made the moments captured feel that much more special, and I can only hope that emotion comes through when you see the photos. Grayscale has colorful energy that is hard to be fully represented in pictures, hence Grayscale in grayscale. I do believe that with the colors stripped away you can truly see their energy and light more clearly. However, I did want to throw in some color shots, so for fun, here's Grayscale... in violet (get it?).
Grayscale in violet by Lexy Bouras
Once the three songs were over, most concert photographers go to the front of house to shoot more- and don’t get me wrong, I did, but in between having the time of my life. Grayscale's setlist was incredible, just banger after banger. "In Violet", "Painkiller Weather," "Baby Blue", boom boom boom. I made room to dance, camera in hand, and enjoyed the special one-of-a kind energy this band provides. I left tired, happy, and sweaty. It almost felt like a healing experience. For me, Grayscale was catharsis. I may have some heavy memories tied to their songs, but hearing them live released those bonds and allowed me to fully enjoy them as if it was the first time. In short, it was amazing; not just because of my personal ties, but just because that's what Grayscale stands for. They're a band that'll remind you what it’s like to feel alive.