POP EVIL @ THE RAVE – Milwaukee, WI


February 11, 2017

Photos and Review by Derek Koepke


Pop Evil filled The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to capacity with their first ever headlining show in the city this past weekend with guests Red Sun Rising and Badflower.

Pop Evil in recent years have made quite the name for themselves in the rock community, gaining a following from all over. While having had headline shows in the past, and touring quite a bit in 2016, this is the first headlining show Pop Evil has had in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With new heavy hitting drummer Haley Cramer accompanying the band, this isn’t a show you’d want to miss.

Kicking the night off was Badflower. If you’re like me, you may not know of the band by name. Once I heard their hit “Animal” I instantly remember heard them in the past. Badflower’s music is raw, groovy rock and roll. They put so much energy and emotion into all of their songs, it’s very admirable to see.

Next up to take the stage was Red Sun Rising. I’ve been a fan of theirs for awhile now, but this is the first time I have seen them perform in an indoor setting. From the get go the band had the crowd screaming and singing along. The best thing about Red Sun Rising’s performance has to be their sound, hands down. Vocalist Mike Protich’s energy was unmatched by anyone else during their entire set. There wasn’t a moment where he wasn’t spinning and jumping around on stage.

With energies high from supporting acts Badflower and Red Sun Rising, the crowd was patiently waiting for the main attraction to hit the stage. The lights dimmed, a shadowy figure can be seen spray painting “now” onto cardboard cutouts tied to a chain link fence to signify the Rock ’N Roll Now tour. Shortly after, frontman Leigh Kakaty can be seen jumping down from the drum riser, waving his full size flag around the stage as their hit song “Trenches” starts and the crowd just roared. The energy expelled from the entire band, including recently recruited drummer Hayley Cramer, was top notch. I couldn’t count how many times bassist Matt DiRito and guitarist Dave Grahs were interacting with the crowd throughout their set, which is amazing to see musicians do. Bright lights, Co2 bursts, crazy musicians running around on stage playing great music, what’s not to love?

I’ve seen Pop Evil a handful of times now, and each time their performance gets better and better. Tonight was no exception, with the entire bands energy being at the highest I’ve seen. The tour ends at the end of February, with a majority of their last shows being in their home state Michigan. If I could make it to another stop on this tour, I would in a heartbeat. If you’re able to get out to one of the upcoming dates, I highly encourage you to.



Red Sun Rising

Pop Evil

My passion for live music started at a young age, with my first concert that I can remember going to being Anthrax. Since, I have been to hundreds of concerts throughout the years and music has always been a large part of my life. I can remember when I was younger flipping through pages of music magazines, such as Hit Parader, just to look at the pictures of the people I idolized so much – I would say that has the biggest impact on how I developed my style of concert photography.