KNITTING FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT
[POSTPONED] Pop Evil: The Versatile Tour
A note from Pop Evil:
We are rescheduling the Versatile Tour out of an abundance of caution. Above everything, the health of our fans, touring crew, and concert venue employees is our top priority. Our team is diligently working to find the right time to safely tour. Until then, stay home, stay safe, and self-isolate! We are in this together.
When North Muskegon, Michigan native Leigh Kakaty formed Pop Evil, he chose the band’s name for a reason. He loved hard rock songs with good melodies but he also dug loud, crunchy guitars and propulsive metal rhythms. For Kakaty, it’s a natural duality that came from growing up in the Great Lakes and it eventually became the raison d’etre of his band.
“It’s just a natural part of who I am,” Kakaty says. “When I was growing up we’d roll out to the beach on the weekdays with an acoustic guitar and everyone would kick it. And on the weekends, we’d turn up the amps and, boom, everyone would try to break windows. It was all about the heaviness. And I needed both of those elements – the melodic and the metallic.”
Five albums into Pop Evil’s career, combining strong hooks with knockout punches is more important than ever. Pop Evil is set to release new music this spring that showcases not only their growth, but their versatility as a band. Pop Evil’s upcoming music showcases Kakaty and his bandmates – rhythm guitarist Dave Grahs, lead guitarist Nick Fuelling, bassist Matt DiRito and drummer Hayley Cramer – at their most inspiring.
Joyous Wolf is a Rock band from Southern California formed in 2014 by vocalist Nick Reese, guitarist Blake Allard, bassist Greg Braccio, and drummer Robert Sodaro. Reese and Sodaro met on their first day of 6th grade during student orientation. They went to different high schools where Sodaro would go on to befriend Braccio. During that time Reese, by chance, met Allard in the acoustic room at Guitar Center where they would jam CCR’s “Born on the Bayou”. There was an immediate dynamic between the two that ultimately led to an exchange of information. Months later Reese reached out to both Sodaro and Allard with the interest of starting a new project with them. Braccio would soon follow suit. In the waning months of 2014 early jam sessions would yield the foundation of what Joyous Wolf has become. Fusing together influences ranging from Heavy Metal to Delta Blues, Joyous Wolf creates an expressive, high-energy fingerprint that separates themselves from their contemporaries in the realm of Modern Rock.
BRKN LOVE carry on this tradition, while evolving it. Toronto singer and guitarist Justin Benlolo envisions a fresh future for the genre on the band’s 2019 full-length debut for Spinefarm Records produced by Joel Hamilton [Highly Suspect, Pretty Lights].
“When I first thought about starting a band, it needed all of the elements of rock ‘n’ roll that I respond to—big guitars, big drums, and big vocals,” he explains. “I didn’t want it to be too complex. It had to be something everybody could digest in a short and sweet format. It’s alternative, but it’s also heavy. I try to get right to the point. There are so many of these kids still showing up to shows and moshing to real rock music. That’s refreshing. There’s still a place for something authentic. That’s what I want to provide.”
Born and raised in Canada, Justin cut his teeth by obsessing over the likes of Soundgarden and Led Zeppelin in his youth, while learning how to write music. With the advent of bands such as Royal Blood and Highly Suspect, he recognized the potential for a “different kind of band—that’s not too macho and slick, but edgy enough for the punks.” Justin started tracking demos for BRKN LOVE and shortly after determined that Joel Hamilton was the perfect producer. Joel responded to the tracks by inviting him to Brooklyn to record at Studio G. Together, they cut the 13 tracks that would comprise the album as the band landed a deal with Spinefarm Records after a New York showcase.
Recorded live to tape in the studio, the sound preserves “a raw, real, and alive” feeling in the riffing tempered by “relatable and emotional lyrics.”
Now, the first single “Shot Down” hinges on thick guitars before Justin’s howling takes hold. It seesaws between dirty blues verses and a skyscraping refrain as he chants, “Landslide, shaking the crowd…Shot down in the bottom of a valley!”
Written at the infamous Mate’s Studio in North Hollywood, CA, it captures all of the seedy, glorious grit of the San Fernando Valley.
“It’s got a lot of sexual innuendos,” he goes on. “On the contrary, it can be interpreted as a massive disaster song. There’s a landslide shaking the ground, and we’re in the middle of the valley. The world’s ending as we’re playing away. You could also interpret as about a girl.”
The airy harmonies and syncopated riffs of “I Can’t Lie” take dead aim at West Coast fakery and “friends who stabbed me in the back for no reason” with a hypnotic and heartfelt chorus. Everything culminates on “In Your Hands,” which slides from a clean intro towards a wall of fuzz and his most impressive vocal performance. The latter serves as “an ode to life that we’re going to ride the universe’s wave without worrying.”
In the end, BRKN LOVE represent a new era for rock music that’s as powerful as it is emotional.
“The name represents who I am,” Justin leaves off. “You can honestly be a hopeless romantic and play tough music. Most of the lyrics deal with love and loss. That’s the vibe. You can share your feelings and still rock your face off at the end of the day. It’s what I’m going to do.”
A spirited and irreverent deliverance spills from the speakers and all over the stage when JunkBunny comes around. Crafting rock hooks with an emotive resonance beyond their years, the scrappy riff-rock trio made their major label debut before they could legally buy booze.
JunkBunny is 3 young musicians – Mac Johnson (lead vocals & guitar, 18), Cayden Diebold (vocals & bass, 17), and Jake Douglas (drums, 17). Like their heroes in Green Day or Blink-182, these childhood best friends save the “serious” for their songs, offering up anthems with the scale of Foo Fighters without sacrificing youthful exuberance and good-natured mischief.
The band’s upcoming debut is an impressive introduction to their sound, sizzling with big, raw, urgent, and relentless proclamations that wouldn’t sound misplaced on a lovelorn mixtape, a slab of vintage punk vinyl, blasting from any major festival stage, or shoving its way onto the radio charts. With a swinging groove and assertive pulse, their debut single “Sedona” is immediately both personal and universal, with sincerity bleeding from the vocals.
JunkBunny draw from a deep well of experience and inspiration that stretches back to when frontman Mac and drummer Jake first hit it off in the third grade. Jake began playing drums when he was two years old and Mac was already a burgeoning guitarist. As soon as they realized they both played instruments, a bond was formed. They would jam after school and kick around band names at recess. The duo had already established an early incarnation of the group by the time they met bassist Cayden, a guitar player since the age of nine. The trio’s first gig together was at a local talent show, where they played a Republica song. Early sets were filled with a diverse group of covers, from Nirvana to Rage Against The Machine, showcasing raw nerve and vibe. By high school, their original material gained the respect of classmates, local music press, and industry veterans alike.
The Montgomery County band planted deep roots in their native Texas with their tireless dedication to rousing performances in every area club that would book them, including some that would make them wait outside until stage time because of their ages. They coalesced into an unstoppable live force on the stages of Houston haunts like Rockefeller’s, Leon’s Lounge, and Warehouse Live, eventually earning them the patronage of the longtime manager for ZZ Top.
Audiences immediately respond to the trio’s musical chops and ferocious stage assaults, filled with flailing limbs, pouring sweat, and ravaged gear. The band’s easygoing attitude offstage is a key element of their charisma. There’s little decadence in the dressing room, as JunkBunny are more than happy with junk food - chips and salsa, hot wings, and Dr. Pepper.
Over the past few years, the trio’s live reputation has continued to grow, as they performed with ZZ Top, The Struts, Sammy Hagar and more, as well as at festivals like Louder Than Life. In 2018, when the boys were in tenth grade, Jon Bon Jovi personally signed a note excusing them from class after the rock superstar invited them to open for him at the same arena where the Dallas Mavericks play home games.
The trio celebrated 17th and 18th birthdays the year they entered the studio with Howard Benson, Grammy-winning producer of landmark rock records by My Chemical Romance and P.O.D., to make their debut album for Lava Records, home to Greta Van Fleet and Lorde.
On the eve of their ascendency to a hard-earned wider audience, JunkBunny still burns with the same fire that emboldened them as elementary school kids falling in love with music. They remain best friends bonded together through shared passions and hunger. Offstage they are as soft-spoken and polite as ever. On record, in the clubs, at the festivals, on the radio dial, JunkBunny transform into a raging blur of big hooks, bold swagger, and unbridled passion.