Pop Evil, Smashing Satellites, Drayter, And Dark Avenue Turn It Up At Gas Monkey Bar N’Grill!! – Dallas, TX

DARK AVENUE, DRAYTER, SMASHING SATELLITES and POP EVIL at Gas Monkey Bar N’Grill? Yeah, I’m in….Who’s SMASHING SATELLITES?” SMASHING SATELLITES turned out to be a rather intriguing Toronto band. Though I’ll get to them in a moment.

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The night started off with DARK AVENUE. There was still a little light in the sky, notable because Gas Monkey Bar N’Grill is an outdoor venue. Well, mostly. The stage is located outside with a couple bars (one right next to the stage) and multiple viewing levels.  I was excited because this was my first trip to GMBG. The crowd seemed restless. Then DARK AVENUE started their set. People migrated outside to hear what these guys could do. In typical DARK AVENUE fashion they totally rocked it. By the end of their performance, the crowd was amped up, mostly due to the killer stage presence these guys have, and the light had faded almost to darkness.

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DRAYTER was next to take the stage. I had heard really good things about them and was stoked to have a chance to finally hear ‘em. The assembled fans seemed pretty stoked too. DRAYTER wasted no time jumping on the momentum DARK AVENUE had built up. With their blend of catchy pop melodies and groovy rock ‘n roll, they got the fans worked up. Liv Miner’s voice, the rather attractive lead singer, reminded me a bit of PARAMORE/FLYLEAF with a hard rocking band to back her up. The energy from this young group was huge and it spread immediately to the crowd.

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Then SMASHING SATELLITES was up, and they came out of the gates swinging. By this time, the fans had packed in pretty tight. And the photo pit was filling up too. The Canadian alternative rock band quickly bumped up the energy another couple notches. I was enthusiastic when I realized they had more going on than the usual 4-piece rock band, particularly keyboards and harmonies, on top of the usual bass, drums, guitar and vocals. They even pulled out a keytar toward the end! And to top it all off, they’re pretty chill guys too. I got a chance to hang out with them briefly after the show and they’re really down to earth. Certainly looking forward to the next time they come to town.

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Then it was time for the headliner, POP EVIL. They took their places on stage shrouded by a veil of fog. The fans went nuts. These guys truly have a huge stage presence. In fact, the Gas Monkey stage, although not small by any means, seemed so under these guys. I heard the news earlier that this might be my last chance to shoot drummer Chachi Riot, so I was paying particular attention to the man behind the kit. And I tell you what, he is truly incredible to watch. He would definitely be on my Top Five most enthusiastic, athletic, high energy drummers I’ve had the pleasure of shooting. Though what’s really amazing is it just fits so well with this high energy hard rocking band.

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With killer guitar tones and riffs, massive bass grooves, and an impressive vocal range to bring it all together, these guys simply rock. And the fans knew it. The place was pretty well packed by now. The crowd was singing along, jumping, pumping their fists in the air. And all of this was encouraged by lead singer Leigh Kakaty. They finished up their regular set, disappeared for a short time whilst the crowd chanted, applauded and whistled, and then they came back for their encore. At the conclusion of their extra songs, they thanked their fans and bid them a good night, promising to return to Dallas.

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LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: RYAN “C.B.” WHITEHEAD/ARDENT OWL MEDIA


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