Akron, Ohio lit up on Friday night when Pop Evil and Mindset Evolution came to town. Mindset Evolution kicked off the night with a number of tracks from their debut album Brave, Bold, and Broken. Having seen the band at a few bigger festivals in the last couple of months, I knew a good show was in store for me. They somehow managed to impress me even further. The band brought the same energy they put into the big stages, which made for an incredible performance in the more intimate setting.
The interaction between the band members with one another as well as the crowd added some entertainment to the set. and within just one song, they had converted anyone that hadn’t heard them before into a fan. The set included the hard-hitting “Ready” and first single “Burn it Down”. A welcome new addition to their set list was “Rise” off of the band’s EP, which they were giving out for free to anyone that purchased the new full length album.
Pop Evil teased fans for a while before coming out, dimming the lights early while anxious chants grew louder and louder. Bassist Matt DiRito and drummer Chachi took the stage first to jump straight into “Flawed”. The rest of the band joined them to begin what would be a too-short whirlwind of pure rock n’ roll. They played a good number of tracks from the band’s third album, Onyx, released earlier this year. The two singles off of the album were definite highlights of the night, with fans singing along to each and every word of “Deal with the Devil” and “Trenches”.
Frontman Leigh Kakaty and guitarist Dave Grahs slowed things down for a few minutes halfway through the set. Kakaty chatted with the crowd about his Michigan roots and his time spent at the Great Lakes before saying that he hadn’t played the next song, “Stepping Stone” in quite a while. Thanks to the request of a fan via Facebook, they performed a duet of the rarely heard track, showcasing the front man’s powerful, bluesy vocals. They continued to power through a number of hits, including "Boss's Daughter", "Monster You Made", and "Last Man Standing". By the end of the set I think it was safe to say that Ohio was already left wanting more Pop Evil.