I have a confession to make before I start this review: I’ve been a huge Pop Evil fan for years, and they were the first band I ever photographed from the photo pit. They’re also (mostly) from Michigan, my home state, so I definitely have a soft spot for them. That being said, I don’t think I’m being biased when I say they absolutely slayed last weekend at their show in support of Skillet and Sevendust.
Pop Evil opened with the fast-paced, kick-ass hit, Boss’s Daughter. Drummer Haley Kramer and bassist Matt Dirito furiously swung their heads in big circles, long hair flying dramatically, as guitarists Nick Fuelling and Davey Grahs took their places and lead singer Leigh Kakaty strode onto the stage. I was in my happy place as they ripped through all my favorite tunes during their 8-song set.
The last time I saw Pop Evil was in less-than-ideal circumstances. We were jammed indoors at a club in Florida after a huge rainstorm washed out a mini festival, and all the bands on the ticket were forced to play acoustic sets. Pop Evil did their best, but their music doesn’t translate well to acoustic. It was wonderful to hear them in Indianapolis the way they’re supposed to sound: loud and electric!
Kakaty was 100% the showman, getting the audience excited enough throughout the set to have them hold him up as he crowd-walked through the pit. He also brought two cute little girls up on the stage to help him sing; I expect they’ll be enrolling in the School of Rock this semester. Fuelling and Grahs were skillful and tight all night. Kramer and Dirito were consummate rockstars, showing lots of love to the crowd and also to us photographers. Kramer was an absolute beast on the drums; I could have watched her for hours.
The show ended with Pop Evil’s hit, Trenches, and Kakaty’s stroll up through the lawn and into the bleachers at the top of the hill. He finished the song on the bleachers, giving the fans quite a treat, and took the time to meet them and take photos and selfies on his way back down. I’m not ashamed to admit I squeezed myself into the crowd for a selfie; it was the highlight of the entire night for me!