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Stone Sour/Pop Evil set the bar high to start the 2014 concert year

Stone Sour/Pop Evil at House of Blues, Orlando, Fla.
Stone Sour/Pop Evil at House of Blues, Orlando, Fla.
Chris Zambello

In front of a packed house at the House of Blues in Orlando, Fla., hard rockers Stone Sour and Pop Evil opened their tour and set a high standard for other bands to follow this year. It was pure adrenaline for two bands who relish on giving fans their money’s worth in quality entertainment.

Corey Taylor at House of Blues, Orlando, Fla.
Chris Zambello

Taking the stage first was Los Angeles-based experimental rock band, Stolen Babies who warmed up the crowd with a very interesting set. Lead singer, Dominique Persi wowed the crowd with her colorful gothic antics mixed with a touch of blues.

Up next was Pop Evil who wasted no time getting the crowd jumping up and down with their fists in the air starting with their #1 single, “Deal With the Devil”. Lead singer, Leigh Kakaty was in prime form with his commanding voice. Bassist, Matt DiRito was on fire as he danced about the stage, spinning his bass in all directions. Guitarists, Davey Grahs and Nick Fuelling were totally in tune shredding their axes with amazing technicality. Then there’s Chachi Riot behind the drums: the man is a total animal with his kit! He makes sure that he gets your attention standing up for a majority of the set, thrashing about, smashing his drums with all he’s got. He is possibly the most entertaining drummer in the business today.

These boys hailing from Grand Rapids, Mich., have really polished their stage show. They are proving that they are a force to be reckoned with in 2014 and for good reason. With two #1 singles off their third album, Onyx, there’s no mistaking they are the real deal.

Headlining the night was none other than Stone Sour who also had an incredible 2013 with their two-disc compilation The House of Gold and Bones. Starting off with the title track, the sold-out crowd went insane! There’s a question of who feeds off whom: does frontman Corey Taylor feed off the crowd, or does the crowd feed off Taylor? We’ll just assume that it’s mutual. One thing’s for sure, Corey’s not totally satisfied until every single person in the crowd is pumping their fists and jumping in the air.

Stone Sour makes no mistake about it, they are there to entertain the capacity crowd, and they easily succeed. A majority of the roughly 90-minute set are tracks from their latest album. “Gone Sovereign”, “Absolute Zero”, “The Travelers” and “Gravesend” are just a few worth mentioning.

The band as a whole is a well-oiled machine that performs together perfectly. But there’s no mistaking that Taylor is the mastermind behind the operation. He is a pure entertainer, arguably one of the best in hard rock today. A pure singer-songwriter, this is what he was born to do and he does it extremely well. His voice is pure and natural with an extremely dynamic range. He seems at ease standing alone with an acoustic guitar pulling off an amazing cover of “Nutshell” as he does thrashing about the stage covering Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave”. Using “Gravesend” as an example, he can start the song off so soft and with the flick of the switch, kick it into high gear with an all-out roar much to the fan’s delight. He gives one-hundred percent of himself to his performance and just seems so happy to be up on stage performing for the fans.

Speaking of the fans, it was clear that they had done their homework memorizing just about every song in the Stone Sour library. There were several moments where Taylor was so impressed by the crowd’s vocal ability that he stopped singing and let the fans take over. There was literally no difference in decibels as the crowd didn’t require any amplification.

“Corey’s the best!” exclaimed one young woman. “That was awesome!” was overheard more than once. It was clear that those in attendance got their money’s worth in a great rock show judging by all the positive comments as people were exiting the venue.

Be sure to check Stone Sour or Pop Evil’s websites for dates and cities as the tour continues nationwide.

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