February 19, 2017 was an unusually warm Sunday night in Philadelphia, PA. The Theater Of Living Arts is situated at the eastern end of South Street, Philly’s hippest part of town. The venue filled quickly and by the plethora of Pop Evil shirts worn by the crowd, there were a lot of repeat concert-goers present. Pop Evil is on the tail-end of their “Rock ‘N Roll Now Tour” and have played in twenty-five cities in a little over a month. Just before kicking off the tour, they released “Take It All,” their fourth single off of their 2015 album, Up.
The crowd was warmed up by Siravo, a band from nearby Hainesport, NJ. Siravo is made up of guitarist and lead vocalist Michael Archangelo, guitarist and vocalist Andy Horne, bassist Izzy Ray, and drummer Paul Buondonno. They are currently in the studio recording a new album.
Badflower took the stage next. This Los Angeles-based band has a modern rock vibe that overlays classic rock rhythms. The group is lead by singer/guitarist Josh Katz, a boyish blonde that delivered a soulful performance, especially during “Animal”; the single off of their November 2016 EP, Temper. The band also consists of guitarist Joey Morrow, bassist Alex Espiritu and drummer Anthony Sonetti. Badflower played an extensive set that included crowd favorites “Heroin,” “Let the Band Play,” and “Drop Dead.”
The stage was dark when a piano interlude started up. Suddenly, the stage lit up and lead singer, Leigh Kakaty, appeared behind the drumset in a black hoodie with his face half-covered. He moved to his right, and with a can of spray paint in hand, wrote “N-O-W” in bright red over the graffitied “Rock ‘N Roll” sign. The stage then went dark for a few seconds before lighting up again. Now, Nick Fuelling and Dave Grahs (guitars), Matt DiRito (bass), and Hayley Cramer (drums) were also on stage. Kakaty stood back by Cramer, waving the flag attached to his mic stand as they lead into the song “Trenches.”
Their set consisted of newer favorites “Ways to Get High,” “If Only For Now,” and “Footsteps” (Up, 2015) as well as older hits “Hero” and “100 In a 55” (Lipstick On the Mirror, 2008). It was mesmerizing to watch Cramer as she played, with her blonde hair moving in all directions and the occasional arm straight up in the air, drumstick in hand. “Boss’s Daughter” and “Purple” (War of Angels, 2011) were big hits with the crowd. They even threw in short cover of Survivor’s “Eye Of the Tiger.” Throughout the performance, DiRito was all over the stage, with his black bass in hand and long dark hair draped around him. There wasn’t an inch that he didn’t cover as he meandered amongst the other members. They also included several songs off of Onyx (2013) including “Torn To Pieces,” and “Deal With the Devil.” Kakaty was solid throughout the show and was very interactive which was well-received by the audience. Toward the end of the night, he did a solo performance of “Beautiful” and the crowd sang along in response. Overall, Pop Evil came to Philadelphia and rocked the house with a performance that showcased their amazing talent. If you have the chance to catch them in action, I would highly recommend it!