Review Nisa Ates
Melbourne’s sharply cold weather was no barrier for eager fans lining up to see I Prevail on Sunday night. Excited punters wrapped around the corner of Arrow on Swanston for a completely sold out show for the Michigan band.
Kicking things off for the night were Melbourne’s local favourites, Belle Haven. I had seen this band almost 10 times by now and they manage to blow me away each time with their energy-fuelled performance.
Being the opening act for an All Ages gig, however, it was clear that most the crowd were quite unfamiliar with Belle Haven. An opportunity to win the audience over, the set proved to be a feat won as punters gathered around the merch table after the show raving on about their new musical discovery.
Belle Haven delivered a fast and punchy set in the short time they had. Opening with their newest track ‘The Carving Knife’, guitarist Chris Vernon had already broken a guitar string with his aggressive playing. Working through tracks off their debut record Everything Ablaze, the band treated their unacquainted crowd to ‘The Looking Glass’ and ‘Hunt For Health’ before announcing a brand new album to drop June 16th and playing ‘Closet’ live for the first time, their first upcoming single from the new LP.
Bringing their set to a close with ‘Selfmade’, the band left the stage having surely opened a few new hearts and ears to their music.
Up next were UNFD signees, Void of Vision, who are supporting I Prevail across all dates on the tour. Taking to the stage in matching VoV baseball jerseys, the band made sure the crowd were well and truly warmed up for the night.
It seemed like a pretty tough crowd to work with at first, but two songs in found the more active punters thrashing about in the night’s first circle pit. Given it was an all ages gig, there were quite a few in attendance who were clearly there as parents/guardians making sure their children are having a safe, fun night.
Despite the initial crowd reaction, Void of Vision put on a tight and heavy set. Their music translates perfectly in a live setting and had fans throwing fists and jumping about in no time.
Pictures from the Corner Hotel
As it drew nearer for I Prevail to take the stage, the same buzzing excitement from fans lining up resurfaced and amplified infinitely. Before they even made an appearance, an entirely packed out Arrow was chanting loudly “I Prevail! I Prevail! I Prevail!” – and when they finally emerged, the roar of the fans was deafening.
Jumping right into motion with no sight of slowing down, the band open their set with ‘Come And Get It’ and the fans react with utmost joy. Taking in the atmosphere of the crowd before them, vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe coarsely yells “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” before breaking in to ‘Love, Lust and Liars’.
Climbing up on amps during ‘Stuck In Your Head’, transforming the venue into a place of I Prevail worship with frantic energy and blinding lights, praising the crowd that “Australia has gone harder than our own fucking hometown”, the Michigan band kept things moving and interesting throughout the night.
Pictures from the Corner Hotel
Adding to their showmanship and the crowd-interaction the band are known for, Vanlerberghe and co. bring the tempo down a notch to welcome someone by the name of Mitchell up on stage – to “roast” the entire band.
The focus of the night’s roast was guitarist Dylan Bowman, who was pointed out for the fact that he cannot “keep a girlfriend for more than a day”. His response? A medley of covers to demonstrate his romantic misfortunes. With the crowd loudly singing along, the band played an assortment of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’, Puddle of Mudd’s ‘She Hates Me’ and to everyone’s delight, ‘Bodies’ by Drowning Pool. This is all before they jump into a cover that without a doubt boosted their popularity – a heavy, Punk Goes… worthy rendition of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’.
Delivering a heart-felt and honest speech about following your dreams, the band remind each person in the room that “it’s never too late and it’s never too early” to go after your passion before breaking into ‘Rise’ to a welcoming roar of approval.
Apart from clearly being masters of their craft, I Prevail proved that their musicianship doesn’t stop at just recording albums. The band adopt an engaging stage presence that’s entirely fuelled by passion for what they do – a performance that even had parents nodding and moving along by the end of the night.