November 3, 2014 Pop Evil rock Amos’ Southend w/ New Medicine, Letters From the Fire, & Bad Seed Rising Charlotte, NC 10-25-14
Pop Evil has worked relentlessly over the past thirteen years to make a name for themselves and their trailblazing has definitely paid off. The band has spent the past few years on the road with some of the best in Rock and Metal while collaborating with some incredible artists including DMC of Hip Hop group Run DMC and Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe. The guys released their third album, Onyx, on May 14, 2014 and have been relentlessly tearing up the road in support of it. Having just wrapped up a stint on the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar tour, Pop Evil set out again, this time with Bad Seed Rising, Letters From The Fire, and New Medicine. On October 25th, the tour stopped at Amos’ Southend in Charlotte, N.C. for an Saturday night Rock show everyone was looking forward to.
Up first was the youngsters from Maryland called Bad Seed Rising. Sharing the stage with some big names in Rock-n-Roll including 3 Doors Down, Tesla, among many others, this band is on the fast track to success. Rocking hard and tight, their set was a perfect table setter for the evening as they took many attendants by surprise.
San Francisco, CA’s Letters From The Fire were bursting with energy from the time they hit the stage. Their approach to capturing an audience seems to be to attack every angle of the stage. Frontman Elliot Weber throws himself into his performance wholeheartedly. He can be seen having a visceral response to the music as he works the stage and engages the crowd. Guitarists Grayson Hurd and Mike Keller alongside bassist Clayton Wages completed the frontline of sonic electricity. All together with Weber, these guys made up a forcefield of eclectic and electric tenacity. Playing a power-packed set list that consisted of their latest single “Zombies in the Sun,” “Surrender,” and “Reaction,” the guys hammered the stage with unbridled conviction and zeal. One of the primary draws of Letters From The Fire is the way in which Weber and company can transition from echoic melodies to hard-hitting, anthemic riffs and pounding percussion.
Drummer Ben Anderson attacked the kit with a hair-flying fury that made him almost a blur in the background. Keller, Clayton, and Hurd were a frenzy of hair and head-banging with Weber working every corner of the stage to further engage the audience. Amos’ was not a loss of love for these Cali natives either, as the entire venue seemed to be onboard with the captivating performance taking place. As if they had not already won over some hearts and ears, as Letters From The Fire prepared to close out their set, they ripped into their haunting and heavy rendition of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” The venue erupted in excited mumbles as attendees could be seen singing along and bobbing their heads to this hard-edged reinvention. By the conclusion of time onstage, Letters From The Fire had definitely made some new friends, new fans, and made themselves ones to watch should they return to the Queen City.
Next up to take a swing at the already buzzing crowd was Minneapolis, MN rockers New Medicine. The guys just released their sophomore album, Breaking the Model, in August of 2014 and have been touring relentlessly in its support. New Medicine came prepared with an arsenal of heavy-riffed party Rock anthems that got the crowd on its feet. Frontman Jake Sherer was all energy and fun as he hopped and jumped across the front of the stage, riling the crowd up with him. Guitarist Dan Garland and bassist Kyle LeBlanc were just as involved as they skipped and head-banged, playing up the audience with highly animated facial expressions and playful onstage interactions. The band jumped, kicked and pounced their way through a rambunctious set that including songs from across their catalogue, including: “Breaking the Model,” “One Too Many,” “Laid,” and “World Class F*ck Up.” With a sound that combines Hard Rock riffs with Hip Hop and Electronic elements, New Medicine’s live show is like a party on wheels. They make the extra effort to get the audience involved and jumping along with their enthusiastic and infectious presence. After putting all of Amos through a thorough onslaught of songs that helped rouse the crowd and heat up the venue, they decided to close out with one more heavy hitter. New Medicine wrapped up their set with the title track from their 2010 debut album Race You To The Bottom that had the entire crowd jumping, singing, and head-banging along with them. Just like hearing them on record, seeing New Medicine live is a non-stop, full-throttle celebration of being your own person and living life out loud.
Finally, the time had come for the men of the evening, Pop Evil. Led by the suave and passionate Leigh Kakaty, Pop Evil were no stranger to the Charlotte scene, having come through in January with Stone Sour and last year as part of the 2013 Carolina Rebellion. Clad in jacket, red scarf, and sunglasses, Kakaty took his place at the front of the stage and the band began to roll into the soothing melodic opening of “Behind Closed Doors.” One of the great things about seeing Pop Evil live is that you can feel what they feel as they play. These guys are grade-A performers in their delivery and conviction. Near the back of stage, drummer Chachi Riot can be seen wailing away on his kit, hair and arms flying about like a tornado. As they progressed into their set, Kakaty lost the shades, scarf ,and jacket, essentially stripping himself of the things separating him from the audience.
The excitement was palpable as the crowd stood enchanted and enthralled in the display before them. Guitarists Dave Grah and Nick Fuelling shredded on the strings, throwing their whole bodies into their performance. The majority of the great hair action came in the form of the head-bangs, dips, and spins of bassist Matt DiRito who could be seen giving it his all. When it came to giving the fans their money’s worth, they guys spared no expense in terms of performance, passion, persistence, and conviction. It was apparent to all in attendance that they meant every bead of sweat that dripped from their brows. Pop Evil plowed and danced their way through a set of fan favorites and classics including “Beautiful,” “Purple,” “100 in a 55,” “Sick Sense,” “Last Man Standing,” “Deal With The Devil,” and their ballad “Torn to Pieces.” Of course, anyone that has ever seen a Pop Evil show post-Onyx release knows that no show is complete without the anthemic salute to service men and women, “Trenches.” Closing on the power-packed track, the men of Pop Evil wound up the crowd one last time for a full-frontal aural assault that had the entire place jumping and clamoring to get closer to them.
Before concluding the night, Kakaty addressed the crowd with a message about the unifying power of music and how as a Rock band they make music for those Rock fans. He discussed the importance of staying true to one’s roots and beliefs, and how as a band they did not see to cater to any other demographic. After a night of uproarious and outrageous tunes and performances, the room still resonated with the final notes and emotions of the evening. Every band had managed to bring a little something extra special to the evening, and everyone in attendance was better for it.