By Jase Walker

Pop Evil May 2023 tour posterAfter a last minute tour rescheduling, Pop Evil are finally in Manchester and I’m still able to make the date! So a swift return to one of my favourite venues in Manchester, Rebellion and despite the intermittent inclement weather, it’s turned out nicely to get myself into a sweaty darkened room to get my ears battered. Call Me Amour are in tow for this tour as support as well and looks like we’ve got two solid sets tonight to get my ears around!

Not long after doors, Call Me Amour get themselves started to an almost completely blacked out room barring some “search lights”. I do love a well dressed singer when doing live shows and their singer is looking sharp. It does strike me that the bass drum is extremely loud in comparison with the rest of the band which is a bit jarring. Despite that the singing shines through pretty well, especially when their guitarist jumps in to provide backing and harmonies! They’ve got some real solid poppy vocal melodies and solid riffs though, and as the show’s gone on, the clarity of everyone else is getting a bit better despite the booming bass drum.

A slight glitch with the setlist is taken in pretty good stride: the singer got off stage, built up to the next song and it ended up being the wrong one in the set, whoops. We also get a guest singer spot as well, from Zillion: a nice touch for a set like this, it adds a nice dynamic than just relying on a backing track. Back on track with diving into the audience, their singer ends up accompanied by the guitarist and bass player, some top notch showmanship! Also a medley cover of ‘Breathe’and ‘Firestarter’ by The Prodigy in addition to getting the crowd to imitate Skindred’s Newport windmill? Unexpected but not unwelcome! Despite the sound issues at the start, this eventually turned out to be a brilliantly memorable set with more twists in it than an M. Night Shyamalan film!

After an intermission filled with some absolute ‘bangers ranging from Northlane to Tears For Fears, it’s time to get stuck into Pop Evil! Making themselves extremely well known with their signature massive riffs! Again I’m caught in a room full of massive fans while I, a fan that’s on “I like ’em a bunch” level, is lost in the middle of a crowd going nuts around me. Their sound is nothing short of thunderous, while the drums are strong, everything else is similarly so and that’s what I like to hear! Pop Evil has all that riffy feel of mid 2000s metal of the likes of Spineshank, POD and Creed but all of the contemporary feel of more modern bands and for someone like me in his mid-30s, this feels like it’s written exactly for someone like me.

These are a band that wears their roots on their sleeves but acknowledges that their style needs to adapt to the ever shifting scene but never erring far from their core sound. A brilliant mix of light and shade and each song they blast out is bursting with energy, you’ve got the moments to scream the words out and others to fully lose your mind to. Admittedly I am surprised that the crowd has been a bit less active than I would have expected, they’re clearly loving every minute don’t get me wrong but you’d think with the sort of stuff they’re belting out that there would be more people pitting in the centre. Another guest spot for Zillion for Pop Evil’s ‘The War Inside Me’ switches things up a bit: I suppose I’m getting a sneak preview at an upcoming artist (on this side of the pond anyway!) and he’s got a hell of a voice on him too!

A slightly shorter set than I expected considering they’re known for having somewhat extended sets but was a pretty action-packed one either way! Call Me Amour stood out massively to me based on their showmanship though, they’re seriously going to be a band to keep an eye on with the way they conduct their performance.

Great night!

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