Naval Station Great Lakes presents Stereoside, Royal Bliss, Pop Evil, and Saving Abel
There is no better way to spend the 4th of July weekend than listening to some great rock & roll and supporting America’s service men at the largest Naval training bases in the USA. The base has been running this event every July 4th to the public for several years that I have lived in the area and provides great family fun, entertainment and amazing fireworks. This year was no exception with the live music brought to play this year.
Of the 3 days this event is held, I went to the second day on Sunday, aptly named “Rock, White, and Blue.” As you walk onto the base, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride thinking of the men and women who give and have given their all in training to be in the Navy.
As I walked to the stage, I noticed I just missed Stereoside set, and seeing them before, I know what a great show they put on. The next band up was Royal Bliss - one of the best voices in rock belongs to lead singer, Neal Middleton. The amount of emotions he has in his voice will give you goose bumps and ask yourself, “Why have I not heard of these guys before?” Royal Bliss played some of their hits, Devils & Angels, I was Drunk, By & By, and Save Me off the album Life In-Between. They also played a few cuts off their soon to be released album, Waiting out the Storm.
If you get a chance to see Royal Bliss play, go and support some good guys playing some killer rock music.
Next band up was Pop Evil. They just released their new album, War of Angels after a long release delay and switching record labels. Pop Evil has always been a Midwest favorite for years and it helps knowing they understand the Midwest values, being from Michigan. Lead singer, Leigh Kakaty has a way to get the crowd pumped and has almost a hip-hop flow to his singing and the way he moves on the stage reminds me of Papa Roach when they first came out.
I have followed Pop Evil back when they first came out on tour and I have to say, Kakaty vocals have improved in many ways, showing a wide range. This was proven today, with them playing a lot of new songs from the new album, like Last Man Standing and there new single, Monster You Made. Guitarist, Dave Grahs and Tony Greve provide solid attack on the fretboards to have the air guitar fans going crazy. While Greve is small in stature, he plays huge ripping off sick solo’s and plays on some wicked looking Dean guitars. Matt DiRito, with his long flowing black hair on bass, gets the crowd pumped as he and drummer, Dylan Allison provide deep solid bass drops. DiRito is all over the place and with an 80’s style rock look, you can’t help but notice him up their slapping the bass and hair flying all over.
With a setlist close to a 1 ½ hour, Pop Evil played Shinedown, Ready or Not, 100 in a 55, and ended the set with their big hit, Hero. They are out to prove a point with this new album and will be on tour all summer long.
Last band of the night was Saving Abel from Mississippi and they bring a blend of Rock/Country, Southern Rock.
Band members are:
Jared Weeks – Vocals
Jason Null – Lead Guitar
Scott Bartlett – Rhythm Guitar
Eric Taylor – Bass
Blake Dixon – Drums
With 2 albums to their credit and working on a third album, Saving Abel opened up with Tapout, Bloody Sunday, and Hell of a Ride from the newest album, Miss America. They played a mixture of songs from both albums like In God’s Eyes, New Tattoo, Drowning, and played a medley of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs that ended with Simple Man.
One thing about Saving Abel is they are always giving back to the troops, playing several years with the USO tours and just a few weeks ago, played at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for the men and women stationed there. You could feel the pride in their hearts as they played on the base, where so many come for boot camp to serve in the Navy.
Saving Abel ended the night with 18 Days, which they dedicated to all the men and women who serve this country proud and the last song, their big hit, Addicted had the whole crowd singing along to end a perfect day of music before the 4th of July.
The crowd was then treated to a spectacular fireworks display put on by the Naval base.
If you’re ever in the area during this time of year, make sure you come check it out and don’t forget to thank the service men as you leave for all they do for this country.
All Photos provided by Peter Lizano