Review and Photos by Greg Hamil for MPM
The Vibrant Arena in Moline, IL is one of the longer hauls I make to cover shows, but is always worth the trip! This was no exception as I arrived to cover Godsmack, I Prevail, and Flat Black. As I walked into the arena, the crowd was filing in for a great night of “in your face” rock!
The night started off with Flat Black featuring former Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Jason Hook. Joining him on stage was Wrex Horton on vocals, Nick Diltz on bass, and Rob Pierce on drums.
Flat Black wasted no time jumping straight into “It’s OK To Be Angry”. A hardcore metal song that fluctuated between growling vocals and harmonies, with a fast and heavy beat. It didn’t take long for the crowd in the general admission section to open up a mosh pit as the folks in the reserve sections were already on their feet with fist in the air and heads banging!
Flat Black followed with equally heavy tunes like “Justice Will Be Done”, “Each Time I Win”, and one of their recent video hits, “Halo”. Each tune hitting heavy with Hooks screaming lead solos that got loud cheers from the fans on each song.
In previous shows Flat Black had done a cover version of “Wash It All Away”, but for this show, they played “It’s OK To Be Angry” for a second time. This time was for a video shoot. The crowd went insane when they realized what was happening by putting their fists in the air and screaming at the top of their lungs. The mosh pit grew even larger and more violent for the cameras.
The band closed out the show with “It’s Your Lack of Respect”. As the set came to an end, the crowd was on their feet. Cheers of appreciation were still ringing out even when the lights came back up for intermission.
Overall, Flat Black put on a great show. The music was great, the vocals were spot on, and Hook’s solos were as good as it gets. If you like hard core metal and haven’t heard of or seen Flat Black, I would highly recommend catching their show when they are in your area.
Flat Black Setlist: It’s OK To Be Angry – Justice Will Be Done – Each Time I Win (I Feel Defeated) – Halo – Lightning – It’s OK To Be Angry (video shoot) – It’s Your Lack of Respect
Staying true to the metalcore vibe, I Prevail was next to hit the stage. Formed in 2013 out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the current lineup includes Brian Burkheiser on vocals, Eric Vanlerberghe on vocals, Steve Menoian on lead guitar, Dylan Bowman on guitar, Gabe Helguera on drums, and Jon Eberhard on bass.
Not to be outdone in the hard-core music, I Prevail opened their set with their hit “Bow Down”. Once again, it didn’t take long for the mosh pits to open and the rest of the crowd were on their feet as Burkheiser belted out the clean vocals with Vanlerberghe following up with the unclean vocals. This would set the tone for their set as the crowd was hooked from the start.
I Prevail is known for their energetic live shows. Burkheiser and Vanlererghe both combine well to work the crowd as they stroll back and forth across the stage. The band is equally as talented and skilled as they belt out a heavy and aggressive sound. But, along with the aggressive sound, they also have a knack for writing catchy melodies and hooks.
The band played a mix of old and new songs including “Body Bag”, “Bad Things”, “Hurricane”, Deep End”, and many more. They even threw in a couple of covers including Limp Bizkit’s ”Break Stuff”, System of a Down’s “Chop Suey!” and Slayer’s ”Raining Blood”.
All through the show, the crowd remained on their feet with fists pumping, heads banging, and many singing along with the songs. The band fed off their energy and strived to satisfy the crowd with the best performance possible.
I Prevail is one of the most exciting and innovative bands in the metalcore seen today. Their show at the Vibrant Arena was proof of that. If you enjoy metalcore music, then I Prevail would be a great show for you to see.
I Prevail Setlist: Bow Down – Body Bag – Self-Destruction – Bad Things – Break Stuff – Come and Get It – Hurricane – There’s Fear in Letting Go – Chop Suey! – FWYTYK – Deep End – Raining Blood – Judgement Day – Choke – Gasoline
The performances put on already were worth the price of admission, but things were not done yet! Celebrating 25 years of performing, Godsmack was next to hit the stage. They brought their “Best of Times World Tour” to Moline, IL to share some of their best songs. Formed in Lawrence, MA, long time members include Sully Erna on vocals, Tony Rombola on guitar, Robbie Merrill on bass, and Shannon Larkin on drums.
After a video intro by Mixmaster Mike of the Beastie Boys, the curtain dropped with Godsmack already on stage and ripping into “When Legends Rise”. The crowd once again rose to their feet, never to sit again for the entire set! Erna’s voice was strong, and the band’s music was on point.
The stage would come to life with fire and explosions as they performed “1000hp” and “Cryin’ Like A Bitch”. Looking around, I don’t think there was a single person that wasn’t singing along, with fists in the air, moshing on the floor, and dancing in the aisles.
The show continued with “What About Me” and “You and I”. The next song up was “Something Different”, but Sully slowed things down, playing an extended intro to the song. He used this time to talk about the history of the band and their relationship with the crowd.
He pointed out specific members of the audience, telling jokes about some (in a very nice way) and talking about the way others were dressed or how they were reacting to the performance as an example of why it was worth it to them to be doing this for 25 years.
As the show progressed, Godsmack brought back a song they hadn’t performed live in a very long time. Erna asked the crew to lower the lights on the stage and asked the crowd to light up the arena with their phones as he and Rombolla (on acoustic guitar) performed “Serenity”. The crowd went crazy with applause at the beginning and sang along loudly throughout the entire song.
Next was my favorite part of any Godsmack show. As Larkin began to play “Batalla de los tambores” his drum kit rolled forward and towards stage left as another drum kit with Erna already seated and playing bongos rolled up next to him. Merrill and Rombolla remained onstage playing background music as Larking and Erna had a drum battle.
Each man was trying to out drum the other. The crowd cheered them on as they took turns doing solos, tossing sticks in the air, and egging the crowd on throughout. The solo ended with them doing a synchronized solo using the intros to songs like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”, Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” and more! It was truly the highlight of the night.
Next up was “Whatever”. The band blasted through the first couple of verses, but as they came to the solo break, they brought the music down some as Erna began to talk about the next generation of rock fans. He asked three young fans to come up on stage. After asking their names and introducing them to the crowd, he asked them if they would help him judge a contest. Erna would sing the first part of the chorus and the crowd was to respond as loud as they could with the second half. It was the kids’ job to judge if was good enough and give the crowd a thumbs up or thumbs down as to whether it was good enough. After several thumbs down, the crowd finally responded with a roar worthy of a thumbs up and with that Godsmack finished out the song.
After a brief break, the band came back on stage for an encore. The first song was “Under Your Scars”. As Erna sat at the piano playing an extended intro, he explained to the crowd how the song had become an anthem for people who suffered from depression or were victims of abuse and bullying. He talked about missing people like Amy Winehouse, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington. As they performed the song, every phone was lit up and waving back and forth. Looking around there were even some tears being shed as I am sure this song hits a lot of people on a very emotional level.
To close out the show Godsmack performed“I Stand Alone”. Not many in the crowd had left at this point as everyone wanted to savor every minute they could. With confetti cannons dousing the crowd from the floor. The show finished with a flurry of fire and explosions from the stage. The four members of the band came to center stage to the thank the crowd one last time for coming out on a weeknight to see their show and take a final bow.
Another excellent performance! But you can expect nothing less from Godsmack. The vocals are always spot on and the music crisp and clean. The band has been around for 25 years, but show no signs of slowing down. They are in the midst of a long tour. So, if they come close to your area, you should consider checking out their show. You won’t be disappointed.
Godsmack Setlist: When Legends Rise – 1000hp – Cryin’ Like a Bitch – What About Me – You and I – Something Different – Red White & Blue – Awake – Surrender – Serenity – Batalla de los tambores – Whatever – Under Your Scars – I Stand Alone