Pop Evil / Savage After Midnight / Don Jamieson – Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ – 2/2/19
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Pop Evil’s tour hit Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on February 2, 2019. They brought with them Savage After Midnight, and comedian and former host of That Metal Show, Don Jamieson.
Savage After Midnight is comprised of Shi Eubank (vocals), Jeremiah Lipscomb (guitar), Landon Fox (bass), James “JT” Thomas (keys, vocals) and Zack Pate (drums). They performed songs off their debut EP “11:59”, which is scheduled for release on March 8th. This band has charismatic stage presence, great musicianship and killer vocals by both Shi and JT. What I found interesting is that most rock bands with two vocalists usually have one that is a screamer, or sings to the point that you can’t understand them. This is not the case with Savage After Midnight. They both have amazing vocals, while JT has a smoother tone, Shi belts out vocals without overdoing anything. I am sure they both melted a few hearts in the audience. The last surprise of their set was closing with Madonna’s, “Like a Prayer”. As a lifelong Madonna fan I was initially panicked when they started playing this song, but they did it well. This particular tune actually worked as a rock song. I can’t wait to see how far these guys get, they have a ton of potential.
Now for a turn of events, the comedy of Don Jamieson as direct support of Pop Evil. He did a 25 minute set that produced some laughs, some cheers, and a few did he really say that moments. At one point he said “this is a rock crowd you shouldn’t be offended.” He did a decent job keeping the audience’s attention but to me it was just weird placement. To go from a rocking good band to a comedian then back to rock and roll just seemed to a bit if a roller coaster ride.
Back to the music with Pop Evil. Not really pop, not evil, but a whole lot of music that you can’t get out of your head. This band produces radio friendly rock that generates a different flavor when they hit the stage. Pop Evil consists of Leigh Kakaty (vocals), Davey Grahs (guitar), Nick Fuelling (guitar), Matt DiRito (bass) and Hayley Cramer (drums). They are touring in support of their latest album “Pop Evil” which was released in February of 2018. This album has produced 3 singles, “Waking Lions”, “A Crime to Remember” and my favorite, “Be Legendary” all of which they performed.
Pop Evil opened their set with “Boss’s Daughter” off of 2011’s “War of Angels”. This song has a heavy guitar riff and heart pounding bass. The chorus reminds me of something from the early 80’s, I feel like I should listen to this song while doing 80 in a Trans Am T-Top. It was a great song to pump up the audience with. Next up was a new track, “Colors Bleed”. This songs is heavily inspired by Rage Against the Machine both musically and lyrically. This song features Leigh rapping out lyrics and Hayley killing drums. Everyone always brings up female fronted rock bands but let me take a second and say that a female tearing up a drum kit is one of my favorite things, it’s super empowering. She’s one of the best drummer’s out there right now. Three-quarters through this song there’s a musical interlude that is really neat, and showcased all of the musicians.
Halfway through the set they broke out their latest single “Be Legendary”. If this song didn’t make you scream at the top of your lungs, you were at the wrong show. The track starts with a blues driven guitar riff that gets engulfed by the beat of a rock and roll inferno. The band produced a ton of energy for this one, people were dancing by on their way to the bar. During the main set they played other high energy tunes, including “Deal with the Devil”, “Footsteps” and “Take it All”.
Pop Evil closed out the night with an encore featuring “100 in a 55”, “Waking Lions” and “Trenches”. This was a high energy rock set from start to finish. I’m really glad that I was able to see them headline a show, you can easily forget how many hits they have in a shortened set. They have about 2 weeks left on this tour and then they are headed to Europe, the U.K. and Australia. Make sure you catch them if they come your way.