Mid-Michigan Set to Get Dirty

2015 DIRTFEST Preview • Part 1 in a 2-Part Series

    icon Jul 02, 2015
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Home Sweet Home.  Throughout the years, Michigan has not only been our home, but also a breeding ground for some of the world’s greatest music artists.  Of course we all know about Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Madonna, Ted Nugent and Eminem. What you may not know is that the rock and heavy metal culture in our great state rivals that of anywhere in the country. 

From the Streets of Flint to the art filled alleys of Grand Rapids, Michigan is home to many great bands, many of which will be performing at Dirt Fest right in our own backyard on August 7th & 8thAmong those performing are several local / turned national headliners such as Pop Evil, King 810 and Taproot.

In celebration of these bands, let’s take a brief road trip down memory lane and learn a little about them…



Our journey starts around Ann Arbor in the late 90’s when a local band caught the ear of one Fred Durst. (yes, Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst)  The young band sent the front man a demo in hopes of getting a record deal.  They succeeded in that endeavor, only it was with mega label Atlantic Records instead of the Durst endorsed Interscope. 

This was just the beginning for the band. After releasing their debut album Gift in June of 2000 the guys got a little bit of help from Jack Osbourne and got a spot on the prestigious Ozzfest tour.  A new album followed in 2002 and provided the hit single Poem.  This song would become the bands biggest hit and be loved by both fans and fellow musicians alike.  A string of albums would follow including 2005s Blue Sky Research, 2008s Our Long Road Home, 2010s Plead the Fifth and most recently the Episodes in 2012.

What do they sound like?  Pure blue collar American rock/metal is the greatest way to describe this bands’ sound.  No gimmicks, no frills, just rock.  Singer Steven Richards vocals are the perfect combination of melodic singing and growling, while the bands’ music is very riff driven with a good rhythm section holding it all down. 

The band has been on a bit of a hiatus in recent years, but has decided to re-unite to play a special One Night Only show at Dirt Fest on August 8th

I am personally looking forward to seeing them live again, melting faces and mending hearts.


Pop Evil

Traveling onward from the other side of the state we have Pop Evil - a modern rock band birthed out of Grand Rapids by singer Leigh Kakaty in 2001. If you listen to modern rock radio (Z-93) you have most definitely heard these guys. 

The band made a name for themselves locally in the Grand Rapids area before catching the ear of Universal Records in 2008.  Universal Republic released their debut album Lipstick on the Mirror in 2009. This album featured the songs Hero, Somebody like You and 100 in a 55.   

Following this album the band famously ripped up their recording contract in 2011 after having their sophomore album delayed “due to circumstances beyond their control.”  War of Angels finally came out in July of 2011.   The band toured heavily following this release and it was during this time that the band lost their drummer due to medical issues.  He was replaced shortly after and has not returned to the band.

That same year the group released the song The Big House about University of Michigan football.  The anthem is only available as a digital file on Amazon.com and ITunes.

All of this brings us to 2013 when the album Onyx was released. This was the album that spurred the bands first #1 rock single Trenches.  The song won the Song of the Year Award from Radio Contraband. Also on this album are singles Deal with the Devil and Torn to Pieces.

Pop Evil is widely known throughout Michigan for being the local boys who made good. They play lots of sold out shows to local Michigan audiences every year and are always a Michigan festival staple. If you are wondering what the bands current plans are, their 4th album Up is due to be released on August 21st of this year.  I am sure we can look forward to hearing some of the new material at Dirt Fest, just before the new album is released.


King 810

Heading North in our tour, the newest of our Dirt Fest acts is King 810.  Hailing from Flint, this band has become synonymous with debauchery at their shows - some of which has led to venues ending shows early or not booking the band at all. 

The band only has one major studio album out: Memoirs of a Murderer. It was released in 2014 by Roadrunner Records and cemented the bands’ place in the metal Hierarchy.  The album is a biographical account of what life is like in Flint, from the poverty and unemployment to the violent crime that the town has become known for. Musically they play pretty straightforward metal with a show that at times can be quite theatrical.

No strangers to controversy, the band came under fire last year for having masked men on their stage holding fake guns.   The band is also known for shenanigans at Dirt Fest.  In 2009 their power got cut due to the violence that the crowd was causing.  The crowd overtook both security and local police forcing the sound to be cut for the safety of spectators.

I am definitely looking forward to see what King 810’s show will be like at this year’s festival.  It seems to never be a dull moment when they are on the bill.

This concludes our brief tour of just a few of our state’s fine heavier musical offerings.  If you are a fan of any of these bands, definitely come check them out at the Birch Run Expo Center at the 2015 Dirt Fest

Not only will you get to see some of this small sampling of what our great state has produced in recent years, but you can also see how they compare to other areas as well.   Who knows maybe you will have a new favorite Michigan Musical Son at the end.




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