Smallpools would have you know that their name has nothing to do with killer whales.
Soon after their founding, the indie pop quartet uncovered protests from Internet activists who disapproved of the treatment of killer whales in captivity, decrying their hold in small pools as described in the documentary Blackfish.
In tribute to the concept, they named a new song “Killer Whales,” released in July, eluding to miscommunication with a love, who apparently was out saving killer whales.
The song gave the band a setting through which to demonstrate their high-energy performance at the 9:30 Club on Friday, Oct. 31, particularly as they tossed several prop “killer whales” into the audience — one of which had a saddle intended to carry a passenger through crowdsurfing waves.
Smallpools aren’t afraid to have a little fun with a concept.
In a very full early show, vocalist Sean Scanlon and company rocked through a brisk 12-song set, limited by the fact that they have soared in popularity on a five-track self-titled EP. Scanlon assured the audience their debut full-length would be out soon after the holidays, but meanwhile they were able to keep people dancing with selections like closing number “Dreaming,” their catchy, neo-psychedelic tune that has critics comparing them to Foster the People and Passion Pit.
They introduced a new song on this segment of touring as well — “Bruce Lee,” a song about being a hero to someone. Honestly, the lyrics in songs like “Killer Whales” or “Bruce Lee” could easily be swapped out for other causes or heroes, but they serve the purpose for anyone who wants to make up kung fu dance moves.
My personal favorite selection from Smallpools probably remains “What’s That a Picture Of?”, a raucously goofy song that remains something I would sing when I look at my own terrible Instagram feed.
The Los Angeles indie pop quartet remain on a lengthy tour of the United States with Boston synthpop quintet Magic Man, who elicited a lot of cheering from the audience when they took the stage and bought an equal amount of dance energy to their set. They closed that set with popular synthrock ballad “Paris,” which evokes either a return to a city or a woman but a return to better times nonetheless.
Magic Man’s debut LP, Beneath the Waves, was released in July, and the two bands were delivered as a double header sure to make you shake and sing along. Consider catching them sometime as they wind their way to the West Coast over the month of November.