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Grayscale: Nella Vita Tour feels “Just Right”

It’s been one year since Pennsylvania-based pop-punk rockers Grayscale last played The GARAGE, and eager fans have packed the room.

Though always a treat to see live, this time around is much more important. The show is part of the band’s first-ever U.S. headlining tour, in support of their newest album Nella Vita.

Rich in Gratitude

When I first found out Rich People had been added to the lineup I just about lost my mind. Since they’ve only been playing shows on the east coast, I didn’t think they’d ever make it to the Twin Cities. 

A little lesser-known, they’re a group who is still growing into their fanbase but definitely deserves your attention.

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Robert Rich of Rich People by Katie Ahrens

Their performance starts out with “Fierce Grace,” easily one of my favorite of their songs. I’m feeling at ease as I sit back and enjoy the mellow-rock tunes they bring to the table.

A definite benefit to seeing a band who hasn’t released a heavy discography is that there’s a pretty good chance they’ll play the songs that you really like. This held true as they soon began playing “Back Step (All the Real Girls).”

Soon I see a fan sprint up onto the stage and dive into the audience below. It doesn’t take me long to recognize that the perpetrator is actually a good friend of mine.

It makes me smile to know he’s enjoying himself and I silently hope his tremendous dive is what motivates others in the venue to pick up the energy and carry it through the rest of the show.

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Rich People by Katie Ahrens

After a few songs, Rich People close with “White Mark,” which seems to be the song they’ve been pushing lately, with its optimistic line, “I want to be all the way, and unafraid to be”.

After their set, I join some of my pals in the crowd and witness Rich People frontman Robert Rich rush through the room to personally seek out my friend who did the stage dive. He shakes his hand while introducing himself.

I just couldn’t believe any band member would do that. Still, with Rich People, gratitude is a reoccurring theme – just take a look at this post from their Instagram after the show.

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Rich People on Instagram

Nothing to Be Blue About

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Doug Cousins of Bearings by Katie Ahrens

Bearings, from Ottawa, Canada, come on next and immediately play their top song “Eyes Closed,” an upbeat classic that always seems to pop up in my Spotify shuffle.

Since I expected them to follow trends and play their most popular song last, I’m unsure of what to expect for the remainder of their setlist. I am ecstatic when they play “Blue in the Dark,” as opening bands don’t typically make time in their set to play their slower songs.

I make it a point to sit back and really appreciate this one, as it is simply gorgeous in all aspects. (And I truly like their more mellow songs better anyways.)

After about five songs, they close with “Aforementioned,” but not before proclaiming that it’s one to which, as Minnesotans, we’ll all be able to relate.

You’ll get it, it’s cold in Minnesota – you’re basically Canada.

Doug Cousins of Bearings

This statement is clarified in the first sentence of the song, as Cousins belts out, “I’m so tired of the cold.” We have no cold to be tired of here yet, so I can’t help but hope that Bearings didn’t summon it at that moment.

Jump Around!

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Belmont by Katie Ahrens

The crowd starts to rustle about in anticipation – I don’t know a lot about Chicago-based band, Belmont, but I can tell they’ve got a large fanbase in the audience.

As soon as they hit the stage there is an immediate shift in energy. People are jumping around, waving their arms in the air, and throwing themselves off of the stage.

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Belmont by Katie Ahrens

Frontman Taz Johnson is an easy role model to follow when it comes to keeping things alive and moving — this was an observation made while watching him jump up and down throughout the entirety of the set.

They, of course, close the set with “Overstepping,” their number one song, and my personal favorite.

Righting My Wrongs, and it Feels Just Right

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Grayscale by Katie Ahrens

After months of waiting, it is finally time for Grayscale to play. I can’t begin to imagine what they have in store for us as I stir about restlessly.

In the past, Grayscale has struggled to sculpt the perfect set, especially when it comes to choosing a closer. This is something I was sure to comment on in my write-up a year ago.

In fact, while waiting for them to come on stage, another woman in the crowd even mentioned how frustrating it was when they ended on “Forever Yours,” their slowest and probably most depressing song, the last time they were here.

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Nick Veno of Grayscale by Katie Ahrens

Nella Vita was easily the album I was most looking forward to this year, and it definitely does not disappoint. What makes me the most excited about it is that it is jam-packed full of catchy and high-energy songs that can translate easily live.

I couldn’t wait to see what Grayscale would be capable of delivering with a stacked discography and the freedom to run things as headliners.

To my delight, they open with “In Violet,” the second single off of Nella Vita. Under convenient matching purple-hued lights, harmonies in perfect tune, and the careful balance of sounds, Grayscale is off to an incredible start

New and Old Friends Alike

Throughout their set, they do a wonderful job of mixing both old and new songs so that any fan in attendance can be satisfied and remain engaged. Still keeping the song that hooked me, “Palette,” and the song I always find myself going back to, “Mum,” in the set has me feeling nostalgic and excited.

However, as I’m looking around I’m not seeing a ton of engagement from the crowd. Sure, some people are jumping, but where’s the charisma? Frontman Collin Patrick Walsh seems to notice the lack of energy as well and digs for anything that will shift it.

At one point he gets so desperate he starts listing off our sports teams, with still no response from the crowd. He asks, “Hello? Are you guys even human out there?”

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Grayscale by Katie Ahrens

I’m feeling (rightfully) upset. Grayscale comes back to The GARAGE with an armory of phenomenal songs, a perfected sound and ambiance, and a spark that I haven’t seen before now, and this is the response Minnesota gives them? Pitiful at best.

They’ve already done all they can to improve their live show, and really shouldn’t have to beg for energy from those willing to buy tickets to come and seem them.

Soon though, I see fans beginning to move around during songs like “Twighlight (My Heaven)” and “Slipping Away.”

One guy even perfectly times a leap off of the stage during “Just Right” (As he absolutely should – since it is the best album opener they’ve ever had!)

Grayscale Nella Vita Tour The Garage Burnsville September 27 2010 Bearings Belmont Rich People
Collin Patrick Walsh of Grayscale by Katie Ahrens

Thankfully, they kick their old closer “Fever Dream” back and instead close with “Atlantic,” a song much better suited to end the night.

After a rocky set last year and a fanbase that did them dirty this time around, I suppose with Grayscale and Minnesota shows the third time is going to have to be the charm.

Hopefully next time this midwestern state comes prepared to really give it their all in the same way that this band has done for its fans.

 

Grayscale Setlist:

  1. In Violet
  2. Baby Blue
  3. Palette 
  4. MUM
  5. YOUNG
  6. Painkiller Weather
  7. In My Arms
  8. Forever Yours
  9. Old Friends
  10. Just Right
  11. Slipping Away
  12. Twilight (My Heaven) 
  13. Beautiful Things
  14. Fever Dream
  15. Atlantic
Katie Ahrens
Author: Katie Ahrens

Written by Katie Ahrens

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