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[Review] I, Prevail @ Big Top Luna Park, Sydney – 28/06/2022

Every time you visit Luna Park, it is a memorable occasion. The massive Sydney Harbour Bridge stands tall above you, the harbour stretching over the horizon, studded with distinctive ferries, and in the distance, the lights of the CBD glimmer. 

In my opinion, approaching Luna Park’s iconic visage never becomes old. Sadly, there is where the walking comes to an end. Around the merry-go-round and to the foot of the mouth, a line of music lovers forms. We are not given an explanation for why the line is so lengthy and remains so long after the show has begun. 

Due to the delay entering the venue, I miss the only Australian band on the bill, Windwaker. Yet from the volume of their shirts in the crowd, all signs point to them winning over many. I made sure to turn on alerts for their next Sydney show to make up for tonight. 

Scanning the crowd this evening there is a real melting pot of hardcore, goths, cyber girls, metalheads and very normal-looking music fans who more than likely came directly from work due to it being a Tuesday night and Sydney’s battle with train strikes. As this show was originally scheduled for 2020, not a single ticket holder was missing out on tonight finally receiving the green light. 

The first of 2 international artists are Pennsylvanian metal titans Motionless in White. Their blood-splattered backdrop hangs prominently as the floor fills with anticipation, and it is packing tight.

The lights descend as the very ominous intro to Disguise emits through the room.  Lead singer Chris Motionless, already a very tall guy, stands on a case at the front of the stage towering over the crowd inciting a huge sing-along to the chorus.
I am blown away by how close this sounds to the recorded version.

No time is wasted as they catapult into Necessary Evil in which the album version features Jonathan Davis from Korn. Second guitarist Ryan is missing, and after a quick social media scan, I cannot find any reason as to why. We hope he is ok!

The band’s theatrical make-up and clothing lift the performance, creating a more dramatic and sinister feel. I’m a sucker for a goth get-up.

Even with a member down, they have the excited crowd in the palm of their hand and as the floor bounces to Thoughts and Prayers, my jaw drops to the floor as I turn to my partner and exclaim ‘another band has to follow this!!’. At this point, I am not sure it is possible.

After a long 5 years since we have seen Motionless on our shores, they are humble and thankful at the reception as they blast through Cyberhex, Reincarnate, and Voices.

The intensity in which drummer Vinny Mauro is assaulting the skins is astonishing, more so that they’re still in one piece! It ricochets throughout the venue and every organ. Bass player Justin Morrow is a fantastic singer and compliments Chris perfectly.

A mix of technical difficulties and vocal strains hinder the tail end of the performance as Chris is obviously struggling but doing a terrific job keeping the crowd happy. Earlier seamless transitions between screaming and clean vocals take a bit of a dive.

For the second last show on the tour, in winter and being a road dog, we can only sympathize!

Having released an album on June 10th, it was nice and fresh as we Aussies are some of the first to hear the new material live. Scoring the End of the World is the new track selected, with many in the crowd already knowing the words.
Closing out the set with the beloved song Eternally Yours they morph into the Boyz II Men of metal handing out long stem red roses to lucky punters close enough to reach.

It was a fantastic set of crowd-pleasers; I’m looking forward to a headline tour of theirs hopefully one day soon.
From the reception, Motionless In White received I was unsure if everyone would be sticking around for the headliner. I am promptly proven wrong.

The stage has transformed as the members fill the stage; it looks stunning! Lead singer Eric Vanlerberghe storms to the front of the stage to begin powerhouse track Bow Down. I, Prevail are a newly discovered band of mine, and I was not aware there were two lead singers. You can imagine my excitement when Brian Burkheiser, who mostly takes care of the clean vocal’s leaps from the depths for the chorus.

They waste no time kicking off Gasoline from 2019’s Trauma, an album jam-packed with hits, I’m hopeful we’re in store to hear many of this evening.

The entire band commands the stage like pros as they cruise through tracks such as Scars, DOA, and crowd favourite Hurricane. While Eric takes care of the lows, and Brian the highs, I’m amazed to see them lower their mics and allow guitarist Dylan a chance to sing and he’s just as good as they are!
Rise Above It appeals to the fighter spirit within, I see people hoisted onto shoulders to sing it loud. This song also holds another talent of the singers, they can rap!
Brand new single Body Bag was recently released on June 17th, resulting in Australians being lucky firsts (just as we were for Motionless) to hear the track live. It is heavy, it’s fast, and just what the pit needs. A shout-out is needed to the lighting crew, just spectacular!
At this point, the crowd would do anything they are told, the energy is electric! A few songs earlier, one of the souls on a friend’s shoulders smashed a shoey in true Aussie fashion. Eric seeks out this bloke to join him in another. There is nothing we love more than seeing internationals take part in this disgusting tradition. 

Their songs are connecting on a deeper level tonight. While we have all been missing live performances, we forget how much of an impact the last few years have placed upon artists. After a short drum solo by skinsman Gabe Helguera the lights soften as a solo Eric walks slowly on-stage performing Goodbye, which may only be a short interlude on their album, yet it flows perfectly into Breaking Down.  Brian takes a moment to speak from the soul. Detailing how hard the lockdown was on him and that he almost gave up, and it was his family in the band that pulled him through. Not only did he speak from the soul, but he is also singing from the soul, the lyrics are pouring from an honest and pure place. I am truly moved. 

The energy is restored with Deadweight a heavy track with a fantastic chorus that the entire venue joins in before the band exit the stage. Earlier that day I saw a meme that said, ‘encores are peekaboo for adults’, as I tell my friends around me about it, Eric returns to the stage saying ‘PEEKABOO’. I had no words. 

With six sold-out gigs, the band is grateful to everyone who came out. Even as the pit splits in two, they continue to rile us up by shouting, “You need to give us a reason to return.”
Come and Get It is the evening’s closing track. Eric tosses in a cheeky ‘Oh wah ah ah ah’ from Down With The Sickness, which instantly makes everyone in the venue smile. The band flies around, side to side, even flipping each other off; there’s a real sense of camaraderie among them, and they’re taking in every minute just like we are.

Throughout I, Prevail’s set, I took up my phone to take notes for this review. I could only stand and watch, unable to put my experience in words.

I was absolutely blown away.

Even without knowing many songs, I enjoyed every moment and the journey on which the songs took us was unforgettable.

Do not sleep on I, Prevail. They are a force to the reckoned with and cannot return soon enough. 

Their new album True Power will be released on August 19th through Fearless. 

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