Pop Evil brings their Rock ‘N’ Roll Now tour to Detroit with support from Badflower and Kaleido.

What a great evening for a February concert in Detroit, MI. Normally it would be in the 20s or 30s and snowy, but a few weeks of unseasonably warm weather continue into this evening with temperatures at show time near 60 degrees.

Kaleido from the metropolitan Detroit area open the evening with a short, but enthusiastic set. Lead singer Christina Chriss grabs the crowd’s attention with her high-energy and infectious stage presence. She runs about the whole stage with plenty of jumps, kicks, and crazy poses to draw the audience in. On top of that, she wears a furry jacket and sparkled sneakers to go with her bright pink hair. Chriss is a commanding frontwoman and knows how to get the audience moving and captivated. 

The rest of the band are just as engaging. Drummer Joey Fava provides a powerful beat and bassist Cody Morales lays down a solid bass groove. Guitarists Ronnie Rosolino and Zach Bolling provide the driving guitar riffs, with Ronnie throwing in several jumps. All of the band members work the stage and play up to the audience. It may be a short set, but the whole band give it their all and set the stage for a great evening of live music.

The setlist for Kaleido includes “Unbreakable”, “Nice Bitch”, “Die Tryin’”, “Trouble in Paradise”, “My Michelle”, and “Rock & Roll”.

Kaleido recently released the video for their single “Trouble in Paradise” from their forthcoming full-length debut Experience to be released on May 19, 2017. Great things may be in their future if the show tonight is any indication of what is to come.

Badflower from Los Angeles, CA are up next. They have been touring with Pop Evil in support of their current EP Temper. The song “Animal” from said EP has been getting plenty of radio airplay on the likes of SiriusXM Octane. 

The band waste no time getting the crowd amped up again. Their songs are hook-laden with powerful, soaring leads and plenty of distortion. Badflower’s sound is a mix of rock, alternative and blues with catchy riffs and lyrics.  

Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Josh Katz both sings and plays his heart out, while drummer Anthony Sonetti beats his drums into submission. Not to be outdone, bassist Alex Espiritu never stands still and guitarist Joey Morrow rips through guitar leads and thrashes his hair about on every song. The audience certainly takes notice and appreciates them. Be sure to check out their EP and catch them on tour, you won’t be disappointed.

Badflower’s set includes the songs “Drop Dead”, “White Noise”, “Let the Band Play”, “Heroin”, and “Animal” from Temper.

The lights dim and the crowd erupt as singer Leigh Kakaty from headliner Pop Evil appears at the top of the stage and spray-paints the letters N, O, and W over a sign that reads “Rock N Roll”. The stage is a multi-tiered setup with faux bricks, a backdrop of a city skyline, and lots of different coloured lights. Being the headliner in a larger venue allows them to show off several CO2 smoke cannons throughout the show.

The band launch into the opening track “Trenches”, a radio-friendly single from their current release Up, which has the crowd cheering and rocking from the onset. This is followed up by “Last Man Standing” and a cover of “Eye of Tiger” by the band Survivor.  

When the band start playing “Ways to Get High” the crowd goes crazy. The combination of Matt Dirito’s opening bass line and Hayley Cramer’s tight, but thunderous drumming has the crowd bouncing.  The two of them truly complement each other and provide the bottom end that drives many of the Pop Evil songs. They are a treat to watch with Hayley aggressively hammering the skins and Matt bouncing and thrashing across all parts of the stage.

After that fast-paced opening, they slow things down a bit for a few songs starting with “Ghost of Muskegon”. They follow that up with “Torn to Pieces” and “Sick Sense”. Having had a chance to rest, the audience gets fired up again as Pop Evil tears into “Boss’s Daughter”, a straight-ahead rock song from their War of Angels” album. It showcases the guitar shredding of Nick Fuelling.

Pop Evil continues with a few older songs including “Purple” before they launch into another song from Up, the fast and heavy tune “Lux”. To make sure the audience keeps moving, they go right into “Deal with the Devil” from Onyx and then “Vendetta”. The latter has an opening that is more in line with a thrash metal band and is one of the most aggressive sounding of any Pop Evil song.

Having been around from the start of the band, Leigh and rhythm guitarist Davey Grahs know what their audience wants and they never let them down. Leigh owns the stage and is constantly moving, fist pumping, telling stories and thanking the fans. Davey also works the stage, striking poses, jumping, all while laying down the riffs that are at the core of their songs.

Once again it is time for a breather as they start to perform “Monster You Made”. After this song, Leigh stops to tell the audience that this year is special as it is their 10-year anniversary as a band. He also takes the time to praise the fans and to call Michigan the greatest state in the world. 

This is followed by their current single “If Only for Now” and then one of their early hits “Hero” from their first album Lipstick on the Mirror. A crowd favourite, “100 in a 55” closes out the main portion of their set. Yet another song that the audience know every word to and openly sing along.

With the crowd still cheering loudly, Pop Evil return to the stage and close out their set with three encore songs. The first is “Beautiful” from Onyx with just Hayley providing piano as Leigh sings and plays acoustic guitar. 

The popular song “Footsteps” comes next and has Leigh going into the audience and getting the fans on the floor to squat or sit down like at a campfire and engage in a sing-a-long. Leigh then stands up on top of the audience as they bring the lights up to pose for a photograph by their touring photographer. They close out the evening with an extended version of “Take It All”.

Pop Evil has come a long way in their 10 years, getting better with each album and tour. The fans are treated to the best show by far that this reviewer has seen by Pop Evil. Being the headliner in a larger venue has given them the freedom to utilise a full stage setup and production. The crowd tonight loves it all. Following this show, Pop Evil has two remaining Michigan-based shows and then are going to begin working on their fifth studio album.

Pop Evil is Leigh Kakaty (vocals), Davey Grahs (guitar), Nick Fuelling (guitar), Matt DiRito (bass) and Hayley Cramer (drums).

Pop Evil
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Event Date: 24-FEB-2017

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