Hours before the doors were set to open at the House of Blues Boston on Wednesday night, a line of fans was forming, that at one point stretched all the way to the Cask’n Flagon. The second leg of the TRAUMA tour consists of rising hip hop/ rap artist from Columbus, Oh Justin Stone, the UK veteran rockers, ISSUES, and the rapidly exploding headliners from Detroit, MI, I Prevail.
Being his own hype man, Justin Stone ran out on stage with massive energy and got the Boston crowd hyped up almost immediately. The 22 year old rapper started off his night with the title track from his latest full album ‘Homecoming’. Justin performs with live drummer Noah Bouhadana, and in rather hilarious moment, a phone call on his phone went through the speaker system and interrupted the show momentarily in between songs. Like a professional, he shook it off and joked about it right before he jumped into his song, “Midnight”. With only performing 4 songs during his set, he definitely left an impression after jumping into the crowd to end his night. He had fans taking photos at his merch table almost immediately after he got off stage.
Continuing the show, ISSUES hit the stage kicking of their set with their popular tracks, “Hooligans”, “COMA”, and “Never Lose Your Flames”. Feeling the energy coming from the pit, crowd surfers, reached out to vocalist Tyler Carter every chance they got. The guys played the title track from 2019’s ‘Tapping Out’. and closed out their night with their 2014 classic “Mad at Myself."
Throughout the night Carter reminded everyone to be themselves and respect each other. Being part of and a huge supporter of the LGBT community, Carter felt the love from the Boston crowd.
The main event of the night took a little extra time to set up but the wait was worth it. The anticipation of seeing lead clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser for the first time since his vocal surgery last year could be felt and heard from the pit. Once the lights fell and the video walls slowly lit up, the crowd started screaming “I PRE-VAIL” in unison. Once drummer Gabe Helguera took his seat behind the drum kit, the rest of I Prevail hit the stage to a massive ovation. Harsh vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe stomped on his riser and screamed, with the entire room, the opening line of “Bow Down”, off of the band's newest album and tour, titled ‘TRAUMA’. Almost immediately the band had fans flying over the barricade getting high fives enjoying themselves.
One thing that make I Prevail different than most metal bands is the back and forth between clean and harsh vocals. The combination of Vanlerberghe and Berkheiser singing and screaming are just a part of what makes the band enjoyable to a wide variety of fans. No bigger example of the melody of vocals kicked in next with breakout smash hit, “Scars”, from 2016’s ‘Lifelines’. The night continued on with the opening act, Justin Stone, sharing the stage with the guys to perform the 4th track from TRAUMA, called “Rise Above it”.
Berkheiser took some time to share his journey back to the stage and how his road to recovery had him questioning his dreams. He explained how he almost gave up but is glad he didn’t and he is happy to be back to be able to perform in front of his fans.
The stage production for this show is incredible. From the massive video walls synched up with insane visuals, the incredible lights surrounding the stage, and the Co2 blasts throughout the show, it was an incredible visual spectacle to accompany the talented guys on stage.
Coming up on the later stages of the night, guitarist Dylan Bowman thanked his family and friends for all their support that he gets while the guys are out on tour, and dedicated the song, “Everytime you leave” to all of them. During the song, Vanlerberghe broke out an acoustic guitar and jammed along with Bowman and fellow guitarist Steve Menoian while Berkheiser and Bowman belted out the ballad.
While the night was winding down, Vanlerberghe joked around with everyone claiming, “I’m old” when stating that “DOA”, would be the last song of the night, but when the song eventually ended, he said he’d have 2 more for them to the excitement of everyone on the floor. The guys started their encore with, what is without a doubt, one of the bands most emotionally heavy song from the new album entitled, “Breaking Down”. Before they got to the second half of the encore, Berkheiser stole the bands tour photographer, Kurt Mackey’s camera, and started taking photos and filming the pit going crazy moshing. The guys brought 3 young fans on stage and had them scream the words to the final track of the set. Vanlerberghe held it the mic and from three voices the words, “Come and Get It!”, were screamed with excitement through a wall of co2. It was an awesome fan interaction and an incredible ending to a night of headbanging.