Looking for a Northern Michigan event? Pop Evil is making a return to Traverse City and will perform at Streeters on Friday, August 7. For Pop Evil frontman Leigh Kakaty, the chance to perform at Streeters in Traverse City is always rewarding. “We’re Michigan boys. We love Traverse City, especially in the summer. It’s become a second home for us, for our Up North faithful. Streeters is a good club, like the Intersection (a popular Grand Rapids bar/concert venue),” Kakaty said.
Kakaty called from South Dakota, where the band had a gig that evening. Pop Evil is currently touring the Midwest, where it has built a strong fan base. “The Midwest is big for rock,” he said. “On a Thursday night in a small town in South Dakota, we’ll get 300 to 500. Those are good numbers for a rock band. We don’t get the numbers you do for pop, country or hip hop.”
While the band’s music is still heavy, Kakaty himself sounds almost light-hearted. That’s no coincidence, as he says he and his bandmates are in a better place mentally and emotionally, which translates to musically as well. “We’re not worrying about what the label wants or if we’re going to be here next year. We’re having more fun,” he said, referring to their attitude as a glass half-full rather than half-empty.
Kakaty credits those who have gone before for inspiration, many of whom hail from this state. “There are a lot of classic rock influences. “Seger, Kid Rock, Kiss, Papa Roach, even the Verve Pipe. I was in cover bands that had to play ‘The Freshmen.’”
Kakaty says the band’s dedication comes in large part from its Michigan roots. “You’re proud of where you come from. You don’t forget your roots. Michigan is in our blood.” Not just Michigan, but specifically Grand Rapids. “For me, the west side, it’s like we’re not good enough,” he continued. “I come from a small school. We’re not from Detroit.”
He says there is a lot of talent in western and northern Michigan. “I wanted my whole life to get out. Now I can’t wait to get home.”
How they got their start
The band formed in Grand Rapids in 2001 from other area groups.
Influences and Inspirations
Hard/classic rock, such as Soundgarden, Kiss and Pearl Jam, as well as Michigan-based artists like Bob Seger and Kid Rock
The band’s songs have garnered exposure at various sporting events, including the University of Michigan football games, with its tune “The Big House” inspired by the stadium and with lyrics referencing the university’s fight song. The band is releasing its fourth album, Up, next month.
“Pop Evil continues to mine the rap/alt-rock/post-grunge sonic blast of the late ’90s/early 2000s with dizzying results on their third album, Onyx.” —The All Music Guide
Streeters, Traverse City
Date & Time
August 7, at 8 pm. Doors open at 7.
$23. Go to GroundZeroOnline.com