Pop Evil roars into Detroit on their Music Over Words Tour with support from Black Map and Palaye Royale.
The evening gets off to a rousing start with Palaye Royale from Las Vegas, NV. The band, led by singer Remington Leith, has the women screaming from the start. Their music is catchy, fun and described as fashion art rock, but it is essentially good ole rock and roll. The band never stands still with Remington and guitarist Sebastian Danzig constantly changing direction. They tear through a set that includes several songs like “Don’t Feel Quite Right”, “How Do You Do?” and “Get Higher” from their debut Boom Boom Room album. After their set, tons of fans line up to meet the band and have their photo taken with them at the merch stand in the lobby. Loyal fans or new fans, this bodes well for their growing popularity and future success.
Next up are the hard-rocking trio Black Map from San Francisco, CA. This hard-working band has toured with the likes of Bush and Chevelle in the past, as they continue to build their fan base with solid album releases. Their set is heavy on songs from their 2017 release Droves, but also pulls from the 2014 album ..And We Explode, as well as the recent EP Trace the Path. The crowd loves them and cheers loudly after every song, but especially “Code”, “Let Me Out”, “I’m Just the Driver”, and the set closer “Run Rabbit Run”. Their sound is much larger than a typical three-piece, with Ben Flanagan providing the lead vocals and solid bass, Mark Engles fretboard wizardry, and Chris Robyn driving the beat on drums. They are truly down to earth guys too and deserve much success.
Fans are growing anxious for Pop Evil to take the stage. Up front, they reminisce about previous shows and many have their bags of merch from the evening’s earlier meet and greet with their heroes. You can feel the excitement in the air and see it in their faces as they describe previous shows.
The lights dim and the audience erupts with loud cheers as the band launches into “Ways to Get High” from the 2015 release Up. Drummer Hayley Cramer seems to have fully settled into the band as she pounds the skins and lets her hair fly wildly. Matt Dirito is his usual self, laying down the bass groove while stalking the whole stage, whipping his hair about, and sporting an infectious smile the whole time. This is a band that truly loves what they do, and what better place to do it than a home state show in Detroit, MI.
They rev up the audience with the fast-paced “Boss’s Daughter” from War of Angels, that showcases Nick Fuelling on the guitar. It’s a straight ahead, blistering song with a hook-laden chorus that drives the fans into a frenzy. They follow this up with the emotional “Torn to Pieces” that gives the fans a great chance to chill and sing along. Leigh is a master at commanding the stage, not only with his great vocals but also with between-song banter and the stares and poses he throws in at key points of songs. He knows what the fans want and pulls them in to be part of the moment.
Pop Evil continues to grow with each album release and tour. Their 2018 self-titled album is no exception, with “Waking Lions” recently hitting #1 on the rock charts, becoming the fifth single of theirs to do so. The set tonight includes five songs from it including what could become a sports anthem, “Be Legendary”, and the very different “Nothing but Thieves”.
However, it’s the other three songs from the new album that really grab the audience’s attention. Beginning with “Waking Lions”, the fans are once again whipped into a frenzy. “Ex Machina” continues the heavier sound and they roll right into “Deal with the Devil” from Onyx with its familiar chugging opening. “Art of War” is probably the heaviest song of the evening, from the ripping opening guitar and thunderous drumming, to Leigh’s rap-like vocal delivery that has a vibe like Rage Against the Machine.
Throughout the evening you can see how much the stage production has advanced from earlier tours. Vivid lighting with greens, reds, blues, yellows, and purples are used strategically on different songs, and CO2 smoke cannons are prevalent on many songs throughout the set. Also, the sound production is top-notch, with clear delineation between the instruments and vocals, yet extremely tight bass that you can feel all the way to back of the venue.
A cool highlight is done a few times during their set. Nick and the other guitarist Davey Grahs, walk over to Hayley’s drums and place a guitar pick on a cymbal. When Hayley smashes them, the picks fly in the air and they grab it and continue playing.
They close out the main portion of their set with the lively “Take It All” from Up. This one has fans pumping their fists in the air, and tons of smoke is used during the song. Leigh even leans over the smoke cannon to the point you can no longer see him, while still singing the lyrics.
They return to the stage for three encore songs. Nick takes the stage solo and starts strumming the familiar notes of “100 in a 55”. Eventually, the rest of the band joins them as they ramp up the tempo. Leigh leads the fans in a sing-along while they wave their arms with their lit-up phone displays. He even drops into the photo pit and greets fans up front. He also takes time to personally thank the fans for allowing Pop Evil’s music to be a part of the soundtrack of their lives for the last decade.
They close out the set with 2 of their most popular songs and former #1 rock singles. During “Footsteps”, Leigh launches himself into the air with an awesome jump and leads the fans on a repeat sing along, while they wave their hands back and forth. “Trenches” closes out the show, with fans waving and bouncing throughout the song. Leigh once again thanks the fans for continuing to come out and support them. Another great show by one of the hardest working bands out there.
Pop Evil is winding down this current tour, but the break won’t be long. Fans can catch them this spring and summer at various festivals, as well as a tour run with Poison and Cheap Trick in May and June. If you have never seen them live, do yourself a favor and get out and see them. They are fun, and they put on one hell of a live show. You will not leave disappointed.
Event Date: 06-APR-2018