Pop Evil toured extensively in 2016 after releasing their fourth record UP, but left a handful of fans in the southeast craving more after waving goodbye to North Carolinians following their condensed set at Carolina Rebellion in May. Leigh Kakaty admitted that it’s not something he’s happy about, but the lead vocalist and Pop Evil apologized in style on the start of their “Rock ‘N Roll Now Tour: Right Now” at The Underground in Charlotte.
With the stage overly warm from openers Badflower and fellow Carolina Rebellion main stage rockers Red Sun Rising, Pop Evil entered to a revved up crowd that itched for more. Kakaty led the quintet into the spotlight and abruptly ended the audience’s growing anticipation. The vocalist spray painting the word “Now” in red on three overlaid pieces of cardboard that hung from wire fencing along the back of the stage. The unique introduction led into Pop Evil’s opener “Trenches” – a song that the crowd evidently knew well.
Air cannons flanked Kakaty and erupted amidst his shrieking “Yeah,” amplifying the head banging that littered the first few rows of fans. Between extending his microphone into the sea of fans and waving his full-sized flag that draped from the silver mic stand, Kakaty served as an instigator and playfully interacted with his audience. Coupled with high-energy contributions from bassists Matt DiRito and guitarists Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling, Pop Evil exceeded expectations early.
Photos by Jared Allen
The crowd’s faces lit up as the Michigan natives rolled through hit after hit and some experienced shock after realizing Pop Evil is responsible for 2013’s mainstream, rock radio jam “Torn to Pieces.”
While the quintessential frontman Kakaty stole the show, “Lux” and “Deal With The Devil” allowed the crème de le crème of the band, newly recruited drummer, Hayley Cramer to flourish. Pop Evil unveiled Cramer as the new drummer back in May and the outpouring support from fans has been unanimously positive and clearly for good reason. The U.K. based drummer perched atop her band mates and poured her soul into the performance. Cramer flailed about as her blonde hair and drumsticks pierced the air and pounded her drumhead. The passion behind each movement was genuine and coincided with the entire band’s vibe.
With midnight nearing, Pop Evil wrapped up their lengthy set with two expected crowd-pleasers. The hard rockers saved “Footsteps” and “Take It All,” from their recently released album UP and performed each track to its fullest. Despite dripping in sweat Kakaty left everything in the moment and had the crowd in the palm of his hands one last time. Before the embarking on the tour, the vocalist revealed that “as a ‘rock’ musician this is a very difficult era to survive in” and that it was time for the “rock community to come together to spread the awareness that Rock N Roll is a force to be reckoned with.”
Pop Evil succeeded in just their second night on tour.