Backbooth, Orlando, FL • 4/27/10
As the saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” And in the case of Pop Evil, many of rock and roll’s longstanding traditions remain very much alive and well.
After years of paying dues, the band broke onto the national music scene in 2008 with their debut record Lipstick on the Mirror. Quickly, the band’s breakthrough hit single “100 in a 55” saturated radio airwaves from coast to coast. In 2010, Pop Evil are back on the road, gearing up for the release of their upcoming sophomore record.
Even for a Tuesday night, the Backbooth crowd of approximately 200 fans seemed thin considering the success of the band’s first record. However, given the intensity of their performance, one could have gathered that these kids from Grand Rapids were headlining an arena.
With their ultra-cool and very “rock and roll” fashion-forward hairstyles, tight-fitting black denim and leather stage outfits, and outrageous, colorful guitars, they channeled a late ’80s Sunset Strip vibe. In fact, one veteran of Orlando’s old school rock scene in the crowd commented, “I haven’t seen this many Deans [guitars] in one place in years!”
Even the “chick factor” smacked of rock and roll glory days gone by. Oh sure, there were many attractive young gals in the crowd throughout both opening act sets; however, in grand rock tradition, the venue became miraculously overrun with amazing-looking stripper-types just as the band was taking the stage. Okay, in fairness to these ladies, maybe they weren’t actually strippers. Perhaps they were actually church girls who just happen to enjoy going out to rock clubs wearing corsets, T-backs, and fishnets.
“We’re just Michigan motherfuckers,” frontman Leigh Kakaty announced to the crowd as he preached the virtues of rock and roll throughout the sixty-plus-minute set. Offering fans more than a few obligatory “F-bombs” and Jack Daniels references, Kakaty additionally informed fans that they were all “motherfuckers” and they “rocked.” Further displaying the band’s old-school influences, guitarist Tony Greve delivered a real oddity — an authentic Ace Frehley-style stop-the-rest-of-the-band guitar solo. But with his waist-length, jet black hair, and cock-rock confidence, it was bassist Matt DiRito who truly stole the show.
Although Pop Evil’s set included most of the “must play” selections from record #1 like “Rolling Stone,” “Stepping Stone” and (of course) “100 in 55,” they also debuted selections from their upcoming release such as “Seasons” and “Last Man Standing.” Surprisingly, the new material actually seemed stronger and more powerful than their more established tunes — especially “Save the World” which Kakaty dedicated to the band’s favorite superhero, Wonder Woman, proving to be the musical highlight of the evening.
Pop Evil: www.popevil.com