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Pop Evil stands atop a crowd opening for Stone Sour in Charlotte

Despite being a chilly evening on Wednesday, a line grew outside Charlotte, North Carolina's popular music venue The Fillmore. When the doors opened at 7:00 p.m., it didn't take long for the small venue to fill up with hundreds of excited rock and metal fans.

Pop Evil vocalist Leigh Kakaty clearly performs with passion.
Lizzy Davis Photography
Leigh Kakaty, vocalist of Pop Evil, praises the crowd at The Fillmore.
Lizzy Davis Photography

An experimental rock band called Stolen Babies kicked off the evening around 7:30 p.m. Though not many members of the audience seemed familiar with the band, they captivated the crowd with their unique look and sound, which included the use of an accordion. Stolen Babies played for only a mere 20 minutes before turning the stage over to the quickly rising rockers of Pop Evil.

Vocalist Leigh Kakaty formed Pop Evil in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2001. After going through a handful of member changes, Kakaty was joined by current members Josh "Chachi Riot" Marunde (drums), Dave Grahs (guitar), Matt DiRito (bass) and Nick Fuelling (guitar). Pop Evil released two studio albums between 2008 and 2012 and played as part of numerous festivals and tours. Despite playing alongside well known bands, including Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage and Papa Roach, Pop Evil didn't acquire a sizable following until their May, 2013 album release Onyx.

Pop Evil brought a strong opening to their set, energizing the crowd with "Deal With The Devil", the second #1 single from Onyx. It became clearly evident that local rock music fans had grown to greatly appreciate Pop Evil since they last played in Charlotte at the 2013 Carolina Rebellion Festival. Rock fists pumped through the air as almost every mouth in the room sang along with Kakaty, even as they revisited songs from their older albums. Bassist DiRito flitted from one side of the stage to the other, engrossing many eyes of the crowd with his long hair flying everywhere while headbanging. Regardless of his static positioning on the back of the stage, Chachi Riot could not be missed as he pounded away on his drums.

As their setlist neared it's end, Kakaty asked showgoers to raise their hands up. As the band burst into their song "Last Man Standing", Kakaty jumped off stage and over the barricade, then proceeded to stand on top of the hundreds of hands held in the air! Bringing a memorable close to their act, Pop Evil saved their first ever national #1 single and Radio Contraband's Rock Radio 2013 "Song Of The Year" Award winner "Trenches" for last.

Golden Gods Best International band of 2013 Stone Sour brought an undeviatingly incredible closure to the show. Their set was highlighted by songs from their 2013 compilation album release The House of Gold and Bones and a myriad of covers ranging from Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave" to an attempt at Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" (though vocalist Corey Taylor could hardly get through 10 seconds of the song without laughing)!

Pop Evil once made the statement, "We are here and aren't going away," and although Stone Sour headlines this tour, Pop Evil undoubtedly proved their statement and has firmly established themselves to be a dominant part of rock music in 2014. Make sure not to miss them on tour with Stone Sour!

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