The Fallen State; Pop Evil & 3 Doors Down,  play The O2 Academy, Birmingham 3rd November 2016. Nov06


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The Fallen State; Pop Evil & 3 Doors Down, play The O2 Academy, Birmingham 3rd November 2016.

The Fallen State; Pop Evil & 3 Doors Down,

play The O2 Academy, Birmingham 3rd November 2016.

I arrived at The O2 in good time for my interview with Leigh, the lead in the band Pop Evil. Unfortunately, some confusion left me standing around until. I chased some of the door-men for access to my contact. Fortunately, one of them came up trumps and had me standing by the door whilst an American lass scooted out back to find Jeff, the tour manager. Jeff came through and lead me to the bus where we waited for a couple of minutes for the bus to clear.
I was then lead in to what was my first music interview (in fact, in all the time I had done hospital and local radio I’d avoided interviews, call it shy! Now I had to just deal with it and it actually went really well!) I even had some pre-int nerves with the ticker going ten to the dozen, but as I said, all went fine.

Fine to the point that when the interview with Leigh finished some twenty minutes later, I found the lack of a back-stage pass meant I had to go all the way around the venue back through security before being allowed in again.

I’ve been to the O2 a couple of times before; to see Interpol and Florence and The Machine. Such is the popularity of those bands, it was a real squeeze to get in.
This time around, having arrived early I was able to appreciate how small it actually is and ponder the fact that it had been the size of the venue as to why I’d been so squashed on previous visits.
The doorman I stood with told me it had a capacity of 3000, with 600 seated above the main floor; the floor being standing room only.
The crowd I’d noticed as I arrived earlier were highly commendable. This was a school-night, and yet a lot of people had ventured out into the chilly autumn evening to pay homage to the three bands on the bill; The Fallen State, Pop Evil and headliners, 3 Doors Down.
The crowd had completely cleared so getting back in wasn’t (it has to be said) that much an effort but through it all, I’d virtually missed the performance by The Fallen State.
Getting the cameras out in amongst the crowd, I was approached by some of the doormen who reminded me that with my photo-pass, I should only be taking images down in the pit, not amongst the crowd. I considered myself told, decided it best I nab my place for “Pop Evil,” and so made my way down to the pit.

All of a sudden there was a crash of drums! I looked up to see the newly appointed drummer of Pop Evil, Hayley Krammer starting the set. I think she took everyone by surprise as it took a moment for the spotlight to hit her. She made an awesome opening; her blonde hair tossing in the air looking rather like a Greek goddess. The band launched into “Deal with The Devil,” “Behind Closed Doors,” my own personal favourite “Boss’s Daughter,” and also “100 in a 55,” which climbed as high as no.8 and followed their performance of “Ways to Get High.”
I think it was after their performance of “Last Man Standing,” which Leigh performed actually in the crowd, that he got back on stage and called a young lass up. He asked her age which turned out to be 12, and for being one of the youngest in the crowd said she could watch the rest of their set from the back of the stage with Hayley, a really nice touch and really shows there’s a human side to this band who are very very much in touch with themselves.
They did another three numbers before heading off stage but really had the crowd going. For alternative grunge-rock, a real joy to see, especially as they’re on tour for 250 nights of the year!

There’s something about headline acts. When then come on stage is the volume pumped up? Is the bass increased? Does the stage suddenly get bigger? All three things seemed to happen in the case of 3 Doors Down who are currently playing their “Us and The Night,” tour.
A set again starting with the drums in a more elaborate setting of a silhouette of withered trees which was right at the back of the stage, the band played the set which they have performed since starting their tour August 26th in Charleston before heading over here to Europe and back to The US. Ironically, it’s the second Birmingham they’ve played in nearly as many months, the first being the BJCC Concert Hall in Birmingham Alabama, an awesome venue.
“Us and the Night,” is the name of the band’s 7th album with Brad Arnold on lead vocals, Chris Henderson the other long-standing member on rhythm guitar from ’98. Justin Biltonen (bass) being the most recent member joining in 2013, Chet Roberts on lead guitar and Greg Upchurch on drums, the band jelled together really well and charisma which really got the crowd going.
My time to call it quits though came early as I had a long journey home and a petrol station to find, so I regrettably left early but a great performance from a truly crafted band who have some great experience behind them.

The Fallen State; Pop Evil & 3 Doors Down, Play The O2 Academy, Birmingham 3rd November 2016.

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review and photos done by

Paul Lawrence

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