Pop Evil, Royal Tusk, and Plain As Ghosts

By Samuel Stevens

For the first time in two years North Muskegon, Michigan band Pop Evil made their way north of the border to embark on a tour across Canada with a stop at The Pyramid Cabaret in the heart of Winnipeg on November 23rd, 2018. On the bill to warm up the wall-to-wall Winnipeg audience was the Edmontonian rock band, Royal Tusk and Winnipeg rock band, Plain As Ghosts.

To commence the roller coaster of rock and alternative metal for the evening, up and coming Winnipeggers Plain As Ghosts rocked The Pyramid Cabaret’s stage. The band performed plenty of their 2016 self-produced debut release, Rendering. The set was not complete without the band performing some of their new material for the audience.

Since releasing their album, Rendering, Plain as Ghosts have gained momentum including a featured spot opening for Winnipeg music legend Tom Cochrane in 2017 before this most recent run with Pop Evil. I’m certain this won’t be the last you’ll hear of Plain as Ghosts, so be sure to check out their album, Rendering.

Plain As Ghosts
Plain As Ghosts. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

Following Plain As Ghosts was Royal Tusk, a rock band based out of Edmonton, Canada. This marks the first time the band has been to Winnipeg since the release of their second full length album, Tusk II just two months prior. Including two former members of alt. rock band Ten Second Epic, Daniel Carriere on vocals/guitar and Sandy MacKannon on bass, their proven success together is blended along side Quinn Cyrankiewicz on guitar and Calen Stuckel on drums to create the power house that is Royal Tusk.

Royal Tusk’s ten song set list consisted primarily of new material off Tusk II. They performed such tracks as “Aftermath,” “Die Knowing,” “Freedom,” and “Stowaway,” among others. The new music didn’t stop the rowdy Winnipeg audience from immersing themselves in the music and rock out along with the band throughout their set. Although the set featured more material off Tusk II than their debut release, DealBreaker, the band made sure to sneak the latter albums singles, “Curse the Weather” and “Fever” into their performance.

Royal Tusk - Daniel Carriere
Royal Tusk. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

Last but not least to brace The Pyramid’s stage was American hard rock group Pop Evil. No strangers to Canada, Pop Evil have been making their way north since as early as the first Rock on the Range Canada in June 2009, which used to be held right here in Winnipeg at the now demolished Canad Inns Stadium. The last time Pop Evil was in Winnipeg was during their headlining performance at Winnipeg’s yearly ten day summer festival, the Red River Exhibition in June 2016 supporting their album, Up. Two years earlier in October 2014, the band went on tour supporting their release, Onyx, opening up for both Godsmack and Seether inside what is now called Bell MTS Place.

Performing a mammoth nineteen song set, the band opened up strong with their single, “Ways to Get High”, followed by “Colors Bleed” and “Ex Machina.” Pop Evil were sure to play songs from their entire five album catalogue of material from, Lipstick on the Mirror, all the way to this years self-titled release. The band also performed a cover of Collective Souls’ 1993 hit “Shine” and a snippet of Survivor’s 1982 gem, “Eye of the Tiger” after the band performed their own song “Last Man Standing.”

The band’s main set consisted of fifteen songs, including some fan favorites like “Hero,” “Boss’s Daughter,” “Footsteps,” and “Deal With The Devil.” Pop Evil’s encore started with vocalist Leigh Kakaty leading the Winnipeg crowd in a sing-along of “Silent Night.” Following the full room sing-along, the rest of the band rejoined Kakaty in performing three of the band’s most popular songs, “100 in a 55,” “Waking Lions,” and ending the night right with the song “Trenches.”

Pop Evil - Leigh Kakaty
Pop Evil. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

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