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Pop Evil/Black Map/Palaye Royale: Music Hall Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

4th March 2018

jeff kunze
Words and Pictures: Jeff Kunze

pop evil

Pop Evil originated out of North Muskegon, Michigan back in 2001 when singer Leigh Kakaty formed the band with the idea of mixing strong melodies with the crunch and heaviness of hard-hitting rock.

The end result was the creation of Pop Evil who now have five albums to their credit with the self-titled 'Pop Evil' being dropped on Entertainment One this month, and a just-started tour through North America with Black Map and Palaye Royale in support.

Palaye Royale from Las Vegas opened the night. They list themselves as fashion-art rock but throw in a heavy 70's rock vibe into a blender with a sound like My Chemical Romance to create a unique approach.

They were electrifying with their performance and the songs were smoking. I put them in the same category as Greta Van Fleet and The Struts, young bands that could carry the rock-n-roll banner in the future.

pop evil

Black Map are an American post-hardcore three-piece out of San Francisco. They blend heaviness with a strong sense of melody. They hit hard with a pulsating attack but they also allow the music to breathe and bend into a memorizing hook. They roared through an intensive set and people dove right into it.

This was just the fourth stop of the tour but Pop Evil looked in fine form as they burst into 'Ways To Get High' and the high-octane 'Boss's Daughter'. Judging by the response pouring onto the stage, the crowd was more than ready for them.

The energy coming off the stage was infectious. I was impressed with how entertaining they were. If the crowd sees the band jumping and moving around the stage, the fans will react in the same manner and people were rocking, dancing, and singing throughout the entire show.

pop evil

The line-up is Leigh Kakaty (vocals), Dave Grahs (guitar), Nick Fuelling (guitar), Matt DiRito (bass) and Hayley Cramer (drums). Vocals were perfect and the band was in complete sync.

I had a blast watching Cramer behind the kit, she is fun to watch and a fabulous drummer, sounding ferocious and hitting hard. I also loved the drumstick spins in classic Tommy Lee fashion on 'Trenches'.

pop evil

Since this tour is in support of the new record, we got a good taste of it throughout the night. The first single 'Waking Lions' was crushing and we also got 'Colors Bleed', 'Ex Machina', 'Art Of War', and 'Be Legendary', all well received.

There was still plenty of time to play the older material like 'Deal with The Devil' which blistered with intensity, and the melodic 'Monster You Made' and the touching 'Torn To Pieces'.

The band had two songs left to close out the set before the encores. Everybody started bouncing to the beat as the ultra-catchy 'Take It Off' took hold of the venue and then they moved into '100 In A 55' which got everybody singing.

pop evil

The encore started with the haunting intro of 'Footsteps' that filled the room to the delight of everyone. The obvious closer, Trenches' hit hard with its menacing riff and inspirational lyrics of not letting anything stand in your way.

I admit I've only been a fan from a distance, I knew the hits but not much else and I've never seen them live. Sitting here today I wonder what exactly stopped me from digging into Pop Evil.

pop evil

The performance was excellent, and the sound was nearly perfect. I've taken some time since to explore all of the albums and there is some great material on every one. I am now a full-fledged Pop Evil fan and if this tour comes your way check it out. The support acts are fantastic and Pop Evil put on a great show.

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