RECAP & PHOTOS: Pop Evil’s The Skeletons Tour comes to Kansas Crossing Casino

With special guests Avoid and The Word Alive on Friday, April 21st

Pop Evil at the Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg, Kansas on Friday, April 21, 2023. (Photo by Kyle Million)

BY KYLE MILLION | Go Venue Magazine

Once again the casino was packed from the start of the show and the opening act Avoid did not disappoint with some crowd lifting tunes that were no only cheeky but eventually got a mosh pit started on the final song that due to casino policy the audio was cut, but the drummer kept it going while the band played with no electric till the house lights came up.  Hailing from Seattle, this five-piece band channels the musical legacy synonymous with their hometown while blissfully genre hopping to create something entirely new. Good times with a message of inclusivity, with a drive to bring passion, innovation and provocation back to heavy music and pull in the surrounding community, AVOID crackle with the energy of a young act ready to take the world by storm so be sure to check them out on FB and their other socials!

Lights go down, gear is swapped out and The Word Alive pops off the mood with an intensely aggressive style that actually had me pause before I remembered I what I was there to do. The Phoenix–based quartet — Telle Smith [vocals], Zack Hansen [guitars], Jose DelRio [guitars], Daniel Nelson [drums] toss and turn between visceral power and entrancing emotionality encased in swathes of otherworldly electronics. I will definitely be looking forward to catching them again in the near future, and already downloaded the new single from iTunes.

Lights go down and tear sown setup for the headliner everyone came to see gave me time to talk to familiar rock and metal fans and Pop Evil has a following from school teachers, hard core metal heads, Leo’s, and stoners seems everyone around SEK loves this band. Pop Evil is an American rock band that was formed in North Muskegon, Michigan, in 2001 by Leigh Kakaty. The band was formed from pieces of other Michigan bands in 2001, including a group known as TenFive, which consisted of Kakaty, guitarists Tom Grasman and Jason Reed, bassist James Schaap, and drummer Dylan Allison. As TenFive, Kakaty and Reed recorded a debut album, Severn, and another EP, Dam Electro, on their own independent label. Shortly thereafter, TenFive broke up and Kakaty founded Pop Evil with Allison.  Years of  “It was years of bologna sandwiches, playing so many cover shows until the early morning hours because we needed money to make good demos” as Kakaty puts it the hard work started paying off and over the last decade they have become a major force of metal music for the masses.

2015 a change in drummers became the talk of the town as Hayley Cramer took up the sticks and plays with emotion that I love to capture with my lenses.  Nick Fuelling has been lead guitar and backing vocals since 2012, Dave Grahs as rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2001–present), Joey “Chicago” Walser replaced Matt DiRito in 2021 on bass. Matt was always a hoot to chat with in the Rocklahoma media tent, both he and Leigh were always a sign it was going to be a great day doing interviews as regardless of what was going on they took time to talk to even the smallest outlet as if they were some big time magazine.

I have to say the concerts have been getting better and better here in our small college town thanks to local venues like Kansas Crossing Casino and a couple smaller ones as the music scene almost dried up a few years ago and with a downtown revitalization effort and the casino helped keep it alive through COVID-19 so thanks to all that come to our community and spend their hard-earned dollars from the small local free shows to the bigger ones like tonight spending that money on the merch and interacting together it will only get better!

Pop Evil

The Word Alive


All images © Kyle Million

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