Most of you loyal readers know that in addition to this blog, I do some writing for the Hard Rock Hideout (http://www.hardrockhideout.com/). Through that site, I’ve been able to make some wonderful connections in the world of music, get exposed to new people, and make some friends.
One of those friends, Stone, whose own site Metal Odyssey (http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/) is must read material for the metal masses, happens to live not too far from me. So when the opportunity arose to take in a show at the Crocodile Rock Café, we jumped at the chance. On the bill was Pop Evil with Charm City Devils and a slew of opening acts that I had never heard of. For $12, this was a show worth seeing.
Stone had never seen nor heard of Pop Evil before, and I had never listened to Charm City Devils (except for maybe once on the radio), so we were both going to be exposed to music we knew and loved as well as new music to explore. To me, that’s an exceptional evening.
Before hitting the show, Stone and I stopped for a couple of beers and a bite to eat. We got to talking about music in general, his love for metal, my versatility, and of course our favorite bands from back in the day. He filled me in on what to expect from Charm City Devils and I waxed poetic about Pop Evil. Anyone who remembers my review from the first time I saw them, or my critique of their debut album Lipstick On The Mirror knows how much I love this band. My hope was that by the end of the night Stone would feel the same way. I also wanted to become a fan of a new band by the end of the evening.
Neither Stone nor I had ever visited Crocodile Rock before, so walking in was an experience. Pushing through the front door and past the pizzeria on the right, Crocodile Rock Café opens up in the back to an entire club that probably has a maximum capacity in the neighborhood of 600 people. It is a smaller club, but the acoustics are exceptional. There are two bars for when the club is packed, but on that night, only one bar was open. The bartenders were great (and fast) and I have no complaints about their staff at all. Crocodile Rock is a great place to see a show.
We got to the Croc just as one of the opening acts was finishing up. I’m not sure what the band’s name was, but they were absolutely awful. It hurt my ears to listen to them. The shirtless singer thought he was a modern day Mike Patton. In actuality, he was the furthest thing from it. He was somewhere between a buffoon and just a bad entertainer. Heinous.
The next performance came via Sweet Cyanide and from the opening riff of their first song, I had much higher hopes. Dressed in a very glam, New York City outfit, lead singer/guitarist Sal Scoca was a force to be reckoned with right out of the gates. He engaged the audience, sang with a solid voice and led his band through some great material. Sweet Cyanide is releasing a second CD, and I don’t know how I have not heard of this band before. I was intrigued by their performance and will definitely need to pay attention to this band in the near future. A solid stage performance, coupled with some great music, made Sweet Cyanide’s performance a memorable one. For an opening act, they did a great job.
Charm City Devils was up next, and as mentioned, I was hopeful. They had been getting a lot of press and hype, and I was curious to see if they were as good as everyone had been saying. Stone informed me that they were a modern hair metal band that even had a couple of nice ballads on their debut. It seemed they were going to rock. They took the stage and I listened to their set with an open mind. The opening song was average (at best) and the rest of their performance was mediocre. That was very disappointing. I really wanted to find another band to get as amped about as Pop Evil or Hinder. Unfortunately, Charm City Devils was not that band. That’s not to say they were awful, they just weren’t terrific. Average is the best that could be said about them, and for me, that’s not good enough. Their last song of the night, Let’s Rock and Roll, was excellent and definitely rocked hard, but it wasn’t enough to save the band for me. There will be no Charm City Devils in my immediate future.
Pop Evil - one of the hottest new rock and roll bands out there
Soon after, the headliners of the evening took the stage. Stone and I moved closer to get a better vantage point. From the opening chords of their first song, we knew this was going to be a powerful performance. Leigh Kakaty came out in his typical black T-shirt, black jeans, black dew rag look and from the first word he sang, his voice sounded amazing. Leigh is a charismatic performer and on that night, he really showed it. Bassist Matt DiRito was complete in his Captain Jack Sparrow pirate garb, but I did notice one change about lead guitarist Tony Greve. When he came on stage with his top hat, he still looked like Justin Timberlake’s long lost brother, but once the hat came off (by the second song) his hair had been totally transformed. No longer short and curly, Greve’s hair was grown out with long bangs and shaved sides. It was a prototypical skater’s hair cut. It made him look very different from the last time I saw the band.
Pop Evil is gaining an audience slowly but surely. The evidence was there at Crocodile Rock. They performed most of the songs from Lipstick on the Mirror and even played us three new songs. The new songs sounded intense and just made me yearn for a new Pop Evil record, which I am hopeful for sometime this year. And while I was disappointed that they opted not to perform Hard Highway (my favorite song on the disc) I had no other complaints about their entire set.
Stone, well, he was hooked by the end of song two. The band had managed to hit him the same exact way that they hit me when I saw them open for Theory of a Deadman. The next day, he was the proud owner of Lipstick on the Mirror and loved every song on it. I was glad that he had enjoyed the band as much as I had, and was thankful that he had a new band to add to his collection. We both agreed that the next time Pop Evil roles through town, we are definitely going. By that time, we will both be experts in the music of Pop Evil. Magnificent!