Nashville fans may have had to wait a couple of weeks for The Versatile Tour, but it was well worth the wait, as they had plenty of surprises in store for the Music City crowd.
Atlanta rockers Like Machines opened the night with a 40-minute set that helped set the tone for the night. While fans were clearly unfamiliar with the three-piece band Like Machines did a solid job engaging the crowd and getting them geared up for the remainder of the show. Despite not saying much to the fans, their sound did the talking for the group.
It seemed pretty clear that the group has studied rock and roll as a whole, and that came out in their performance. Like Machines’ sound felt crafted by Nine Inch Nails during their set, only to pull back for a Shinedown sound. For true rock fans, it was welcome tunes for the ears.Following the opener’s set, rap-rocker Zero 9:36 took the stage for a brief 30-minute performance. After just 22 minutes on stage, the genre-blending artist thanked the Nashville crowd after performing what he said would have been his traditional closing song. “I normally never do this, but I have one more song,” Zero 9:36 said. “You guys said you rock with Hollywood Undead, right?” The Brooklyn Bowl cheered as the backing band went straight into the opening notes of “The End/Undead,” a song that features Zero 9:36 and Hollywood Undead. As the song progressed, a member of Hollywood Undead would appear from backstage to perform their verse. It made for an excellent and fun way for Zero 9:36 to close out his set. Two weeks after postponing their original show date when lead singer Leigh Kakaty contracted COVID-19, Pop Evil more than made it up to the Nashville crowd. Even still, the group was appreciative of the Music City fans, particularly Kakaty, who showed his gratification early on into the band’s performance. He addressed and told fans that he had his second bout with the virus but wanted to focus on rock and roll. “Thank you all for coming out on a weeknight and sticking with us,” Kakaty said. “Forget the politics, do what’s best for you and your family… Let’s focus on the only politics that matter, which is rock and roll.”
After being sidelined and forced to stay home for two weeks, it was clear that Kakaty was just happy to be back on stage. He joked with the Nashville crowd throughout the set, poking fun at his band’s status and how they are still up-and-coming rockers. Even still, the band went back to its roots and spliced in some older tracks from its library. On one of those earlier tunes, Pop Evil surprised fans with a special guest appearance. During the band’s performance of 2005’s “100 in a 55,” Kakaty announced that Blake Allison, from Devour The Day, would be joining him on stage. That wasn’t the only tune where Allison made an appearance. Later in the set, Allison came back out to help the group perform “Trenches.”
This wasn’t the only surprise Pop Evil had for fans. While playing songs from their back catalog, the group performed an instrumental cover of Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” that the crowd enjoyed.
Toward the end of the set, Pop Evil returned to their roots and performed a stripped-down version of “Monster You Made.” According to Kakaty, he had purposely taken that tune out of the band’s setlist, much to the chagrin of the band’s fans. “Before COVID, I think I retired this song, I think to the disappointment of the band and to the managers,” Kakaty said. “I just didn’t feel like playing it anymore. After COVID, I started to realize what truly matters, and that’s you guys. Not me, and not whether I should sing this song.”
Pop Evil performed “Waking Lions,” the band’s hard rock anthem, a solid way to close out the performance. Before leaving the stage, KaKaty once again thanked the Music City fans. “Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers as I recover from COVID. Thank you for coming out to the rescheduled date. You guys, seriously, thank you so much.”POP EVIL
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