Photos by Pooja Pasupula.
When the bass is so deep down your throat, you can barely swallow and the screeching of the singers that resembles that of the Predator is drilling its way into your ear drums, you know you are at a rock concert. I Prevail is a rock band from Rochester Hills, Michigan that consists of five members, Brain Burkheiser (clean vocals), Eric Vanlerberghe (unclean vocals), Steve Memoian (guitar), Jordan Berger (guitar) and Lee Runestad (drums). Their “Rage on the Stage” concert was the perfect concert for a person with little to no knowledge of rock music, like me. Once you get past the demonic vocal outbursts and ground shaking bass, you start to appreciate the phenomenal instrumentals and enthusiastic performing. As a person who is new to rock music and unfamiliar with the experience and atmosphere, I was extremely taken back by the hype of the crowd. In the concerts that I am used to seeing, if you were hyped you would scream or chant, but at rock concerts you join in this thing called, “the wall of death,” where a large group of people swarm together and spin, push, shove and get rowdy in the name of getting “pumped up.” It resembles a human whirlpool and street fight all in one.
The band opened with their song, “Come and Get it.” The room was filled with rotating colored and strobed lighting, that for a moment made you think you were having a panic attack. The bass was so deep and it shook the ground so hard you had to hold on to something to stand. The stage, which was rather small, had a large wrestling ring in the center, where the drummer sat in the middle. It was rather obvious that the theme of the show was WWE Raw inspired. In an explanation as to why they chose to put a large wrestling ring in the center of the stage, vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe had this to say, “I know you are probably wondering why the f*** we have a ring on our stage, and the answer is… because I f****** felt like it!”
They played songs from their second album “Lifelines,” but added some surprising twists. The energy of the crowd engulfed the room. Everyone nodded, screamed, danced, jumped. Everyone, including myself had a blast. They had a segment in the show where they invited a fan on stage the pretend to be a “healer,” a trash talking bad a**, who would come on stage and talk trash. They prerecorded the insults and had the fan pretend to say all these crazy things about the audience and their city. In a response to the insults, the band added some trash talking themselves; the fan came with his mother, Barbara, and they proceeded to do a cover to Lil Jon’s “Get Low,” and they incorporated Barbara into the lyrics. The crowd went wild, and they sang along to the entire song.
The band even added a section in the set where vocalists Eric Vanlerberghe and Brian Burkheiser argued about who would make the better wrestler. During his plea, a fan threw her bra at Eric after he said he would make a better wrestler because he is sexy. They then proceeded to play the instrumentals to “Eye of the Tiger” and ended the song with the bridge of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” The band’s playful banter, phenomenal instrumentals, great vocals and pure chaotic energy, made for a great time. I Prevail is the perfect band to introduce you to rock music. They have a great sound, great songs and great vocals. They and their show definitely get two thumbs up from me.