The  Goodyear Theater is one of the areas newest and quite frankly best venues I’ve visited recently. Before this show, I had not yet had the opportunity to partake of a show in this renovated hall located in the old headquarters of Goodyear Tires on the east end of Akron, Ohio. Apparently, the theater was used for private shows for employees of the Goodyear Company back in the day and it is honestly quite a sight to see.

I’m here on this sweltering Friday night to kick back to the rock sounds of Michigan’s own Pop Evil who this time around has Northeast Ohio favorites Citizen Zero along for the ride – a double bill of great rust belt rock

First up, of course, was Citizen Zero. They’ve been around town a lot opening for various other performers but, like the band they are opening for this night, they also hail from Michigan. On the scene since 2010 the band has quickly built a reputation for high energy, honest performances and I can tell you first hand, they do just that. Although not particularly familiar with their repertoire, their playing style and stage presence are down to earth and easily relatable with powerful lyrics that drive home the message. The band gets pretty heavy airplay on Sirius Radio and several of their songs have charted fairly high on the rock charts. This is most definitely a band on the cusp of hitting it big. These guys won’t be opening for anyone in the near future as headlining dates are all but assured. Seeming to follow in the footsteps of bands like Red Sun Rising and the band they are opening for this very night, Citizen Zero is on to bigger and better things. Keep an eye on them.

Playing a roughly 40-minute set, the band was quite obviously having sound issues early in the show but they did not let that deter them, they played loud and strong even though at points the lead guitar was completely inaudible. By the end of their set though, the issues had been resolved and when they ended the show with “Save The Queen”,  it was dynamic. Can’t fault the band in any way for technical difficulties and I was more than impressed with the way they handled things and ended on such a high note.

Time for the headliner to hit the stage and Pop Evil hit the stage hard right from the start. “Trenches” opened the show and set the tone for the entire set to come. Whatever sound issues were plaguing the previous band were long gone as Pop Evil sounded crisp and clean and on point. The pit was in full party mode and grew larger and more frantic as the set progressed. A few surprises along the way, four or so songs in we got a kick ass cover of “Eye of the Tiger” yeah, the Survivor song. Don’t know where that came from but damned if it didn’t rock like hell. Another stand out moment was lead singer Leigh Kakaty’s heart felt remembrance of Chester Bennington and dedication of their song “Torn To Pieces” to him, a fitting song for such a horribly sad situation.

The band jumped straight back into party mode after that though and rocked the hall for nearly an hour straight. The stage show was kept simple as the band lets their music and they talent steal the show. By the time all was said and done, Pop Evil had rocked the hall for almost 90 minutes and the crowd was left breathless and spent. An immpressive performance from this five-member band of rockers that hail from just up the highway.