Have you ever experienced a live Pop Evil concert? If the answer to that question is no, I recommend getting out to one as they are on tour now supporting their newest release, Skeletons! I saw the fans waiting to enter as I approached the Echo Lounge in Dallas. The fans were walking up to the venue from every direction dressed up in their best concert gear, and you could also see some last-minute ticket buyers hoping to get tickets so they could get in and experience the show. As I walked inside, a large crowd of fans was already gathering at the front by the stage, waiting for a sensational night of rock and roll!
A metal band from Seattle, Avoid, was kicking things off tonight, and they came out swinging right away with thunderous drums and heavy riffs to get everyone warmed up for the night. They jumped through some of their songs for the night and commanded everyone’s attention and participation as they rocked through their set! They played some of their older and newer songs off their latest release Cult Mentality. As the band played their set, you could see the happiness and excitement on their faces as the crowd sang and jumped along to their songs, and they finished their songs. As they finished their set at the end, they had everyone jumping, and you could feel the ground begin to shake under your feet as the whole building seemed to move with excitement and energy.
Next up for the night was The Word Alive from Phoenix, and they also came out with a vengeance and started rocking and getting the show turned up another notch! The drummer came out first, and following him was the rest of the band, and they kicked off into their first song of the night. As soon as the singer walked out from the back of the stage, the crowd erupted with yelling and cheers! They kicked off their set with insane vocals, heavy drum hits, and insane guitar riffs as the crowd sang along to every word. The Word Alive got the crowd excited and had them singing along to their song Titled Thank You and continued working their way through the set and even threw in a new one titled New Reality shortly after that, the lead singer stopped briefly and addressed the crowd and thanked the fans being there and enjoying live music again. He also thanked them for giving them all their energy for the night and helping feed them as they played their set. Towards the end of their show, they thanked Pop Evil for bringing them out on tour with them and dedicated an older song titled Life Cycles and asked the crowd to sweat with them and lose your voices with us, which is why we are there, and the crowd cheered and sang along. The band thanked the fans as they played their last song and walked off the stage into the dark.
Next up for the night was the final act, Michigan’s rock band Pop Evil! As the time drew near to their taking the stage, the crowd grew even more prominent and got as close as possible to the stage barricade to soak up everything they would soon be experiencing. Finally, the lights went out in the venue, and the stage lights came up as the members of Pop Evil began taking the stage. One by one, the band members walked onto the set, and the fans started yelling and cheering as they got set to begin their performance. Singer Leigh Kakaty came out from the back of the stage and commenced singing Paranoid, and the fans started singing along. While singing, the guitar players took turns on the risers toying with the fans and getting their interactions. Along with them being on the risers in the front, they would all take turns at the top of the stage on the larger-than-life drum riser that they had set up for their phenomenal drummer, which was raining down thunderous blows to her kit and loud heavy kick drums going off. As they finished that song, they kicked off into the crunchy riffed intro Deal with the Devil, and everyone immediately started thrashing and moshing around in the venue. They raised the decibel level to another level with some of their heaviest hits, with each one amping the crowd up just a little more with every word and chord struck. They continued working their way down through their set for the night from their extensive catalog of hit songs that they have at their fingertips. They rocked the fans with their performances of the songs Work and Be Legendary, and it was hard to catch your breath between songs from all of the moving and jumping around to the music that was going on. Singer Leigh Kakaty addressed the crowd several times, letting them take a breath and get set for the next onslaught and heavy music about to come their way. He was also thanking them and letting them know about their newest album that they just released on March 17, 2023, titled Skeletons, which is impressive from the start to the end of the album. One of the songs they played off the new album earlier in the set was Circles, and it was an instant hit with the fans in attendance. They screamed when he announced they would be playing them a new one. As they worked down to the depths of their set list, they hit them with incredible songs like Footsteps and Survivor, and the crowd kept wanting more after every song they sang. All the band members were so full of energy and emotion that they were running and jumping all over the place and took turns running up and down the large risers that held the drummer and had fun and left everything they had on the stage. They finished up and walked off the stage, and the crowd began cheering and chanting. After a couple of minutes, they returned and left them with a three-song encore, and the fans still wanted more and could not get enough of the insanely talented band’s live performance. This concert was my very first Pop Evil live show, but I can tell you that it will not be my last, and I will make it a point to make their shows as long as they are touring and coming to a city close by. I was impressed with this whole lineup and would gladly go to any of them again together or even individually when they return to our town to put on an insane heavy rock clinic again. I want to tell you that if you can see any of these bands when they come to your area, make sure you are there. You will not be disappointed, have a great time, and enjoy the love and energy each of them puts into their performance.
POP EVIL SETLIST:
Paranoid/Deal/Chaos/Circles/Dead Reckoning/Work/Be Legendary/Who Will We Become/Skeletons/Eye of the Storm/Footsteps/Survivor/Waking Lions/
Encore: Torn/Trenches/Breathe Again
Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood