Pop Evil live at O2 Academy Islington , London, 1st March 10/10
Words and photos by Jade Greenbrooke
POP EVIL make a triumphant return from across the pond bringing THE FALLEN STATE around Europe with them, and for one night only offer the stage to local all-female duo REWS.
REWS are an alternative pop rock female duo from Bristol/London, having previously spoken to Hayley Cramer about females in the industry; I was excited to see what the duo would bring to the show, and I wasn’t disappointed. Front woman Shauna Tohill brought plenty of energy to her performance, making the most of the stage; the only downside to them being a duo was how small they appeared on the stage initially, but by the end of the first song put this aside, as drummer Collette Williams would demand the crowd’s attention with her drumming skills. Overall it was really refreshing to see an all female performance opening for a hard rock band, REWS being a first in that area for potentially many others and myself.
Following REWS were THE FALLEN STATE, a band I had high expectations for as I had noticed a lot of the fans waiting were wearing THE FALLEN STATE merch, unsurprising as they too originate from the UK. From the start, frontman and vocalist Benjamin Stenning, who was full of energy and engaged with the crowd, who seemed to soak up the heavy rock group. Their highlight song was ‘BURN IT TO GROUND’; I was impressed thoroughly throughout the performance by their vocals and the entire band’s presence as a whole, which was filled with plenty of riffs, breakdowns and strong vocals. The band brought the room to the floor, successfully making the room duck down until they said jump, something that most people complied to, it’s often a risky move at gigs from what I’ve seen, but the crowd interacting back to the band highlighted how well they performed and made the crowd become fans, whether they’d heard of them before or not.
POP EVIL were the main attraction of course, despite frontman Leigh Kakaty opening the show with ‘I’m sorry to tell you that I have a bad case of laryngitis but POP EVIL cancel no shows’, an admirable motion, before throwing themselves into their opening song ‘Boss’s Daughter’, an excellent choice of an opening song with it’s high energy and popularity. It’s also a great song to open with because it’s from one WAR OF ANGELS, their second studio album, hinting that we could expect a good selection of songs from all albums, not just doing songs from their latest self titled album. During DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, the band mash up their epic hit with BODIES by DROWNING POOL, an unexpected mix for anyone seeing POP EVIL for the first time, and it works shockingly well, riling up the crowd as they sing along and jump up with the band. The tempo was brought down when POP EVIL began their heartfelt hit TORN TO PIECES and the entire room went silent, including myself, Leigh’s vocals were excellent despite his illness, and the full effect of the song was felt.
This was followed by an excellent selection of songs from the band throughout the years, and Leigh is a trooper throughout despite suffering with laryngitis for a majority of the tour, but Davey, Matt & Nick make excellent backup vocals, along with a very enthusiastic crowd. In the lead up to the end, the band break into WAKING LIONS, the third song of the night from their latest album, of which they perform with high energy and brilliant riffs, it was a real experience to see such an inspiring (and catchy) song live, showing that despite being in the industry for an impressive seventeen years, the band can still bring it and release incredible new content. To bring the night to an end, POP EVIL performed TRENCHES, bringing Benjamin Stenning of THE FALLEN STATE to join them on stage and lend his vocals. The song threw me back to 2015, standing in a muddy field at DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL, seeing POP EVIL for the first time as they opened the stage for that day. It was the perfect end to a near immaculate show, and extremely heartwarming to see them perform with their support band’s frontman, highlighting the sense of friendship that will have been created during their tour, the band clearly enjoying performing for Europe over the two weeks, and making it impossible not to enjoy it with them. 10/10