I went into Thursday night’s show super optimistic. I was a little annoyed by the fact that this show was apparently a big deal and I ended up having to park quite a ways away and walk in the frigid cold but I was still keeping my optimistic outlook on the night. I was about to see two bands that I had fallen in love with when I saw them open for other shows and a band I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years. Maybe last night’s music wasn’t my typical cup of tea but I was ready to try something new.
Thursday night’s nearly sold out show started with California rockers, Badflower. I saw these guys last summer when they were touring with Billy Talent and I was blown away by their energy and fresh sound. I had tweeted at them earlier in the day that I was looking forward to seeing them and hope that, like a good wine, they’ve only gotten better with time. I got a snarky tweet back from one of them letting me know that, in fact, they had only gotten worse with time. What a freaking lie.
They took the small stage at the Cabooze with same power and fury they had when they played at The Varsity with Billy Talent. Being a fairly new band (formed in 2013), they only have one EP out and limited material to play so their set seemed a bit short. That being said, they packed a punch with what they did play and it was easy to tell that these guys are not going anywhere anytime soon. The diversity in the handful of songs they played was immeasurable. Singer Josh Katz had a voice that seemed to change with every single song they played. This kept the set sounding fresh and clean and made it a true standout for me. If I may be so bold, Badflower stole the show last night.
Red Sun Rising was the next band to take the stage and I was excited to see how they have changed since the last time I saw them about a year ago. These guys had me hooked because their music was unlike anything I had ever heard. The bridged the gap between so many genres and it had me intrigued. With a couple of songs that hit number one on the Billboard charts, it would seem as if I’m not the only one who caught onto the gem of a band and I was more than happy for them.
Much like Badflower, Red Sun Rising came out on the stage with the same power and sound that had me falling head over heels for them last time. The first thing the crowd heard had an a cappella intro and, when a rock band does that, it’s hard to turn away from the stage because of how intriguing it is. Unfortunately, they started to lose me after doing a cover of an Alanis Morissette song. I felt that singer Mike Protich’s just couldn’t keep up with the song and it sounded a bit off key. Even with that, I was still more than impressed by Red Sun Rising’s set. They didn’t necessarily fit the line-up but that was part of their charm. Instead of saying, “Put your fists in the air!” Mike was saying, “We’re just gunna vibe on this one for a while… Is that cool?” It was a super refreshing set and a great addition to this tour.
Headlining the night was Pop Evil. The last time I even thought about these guys was in the late 2000’s when I was managing a band that opened for them. I remember them being super nice guys but their music being a bit too “radio rock” for my liking. I was excited to see what, if anything, had changed in the nearly ten years it’s been since I had seen them.
As soon as the band took the stage, my view was obstructed by hundreds of fists in the air. There was no real mosh pit going on, honestly there was no real movement in the crowd other than the pumping fists so that was a bit different than what I am used to. Even though it was hard to see the band members for majority of the set, it was easy to feel their energy as they powered through their set. Their energy and power was matched only by the intense light show (that seemed a bit overpowering at times) and the bursts of smoke that would rise off the stage.
They captivated the packed crowd with their undeniable power. Honestly, there was no need for singer Leigh Kakaty to worry about straining his voice for the show, the crowd was right there singing every single word back to him. Newest member, drummer Hayley Cramer, had the crowd hooting and hollering as she took her seat behind the kit. Cramer’s first show was at Northern Invasion last year and it’s clear that the fans absolutely love her. I must admit, it was hard to take my eyes off of her for majority of the set just due to the amount of energy she showed as she flailed behind the drum set without missing a single beat.
Pop Evil’s loyal fan base was eating up every minute of their set and had me becoming a true fan of this band. It was hard not to get wrapped up in the energy of it all. I look forward to keeping my eye on this band. I know they’ve been around for awhile now but last night was proof that they aren’t going anywhere.