On Friday, July 26, 2019, fans gathered at the Wind Creek Event Center, formerly known as Sands Bethlehem Event Center, for the billed Trauma Tour, which began as a night of hip-hop that quickly transitioned into metalcore with the trio of acts – Justin Stone, Issues, and headliner, I Prevail. In celebrating a nationwide tour on their recently released album, Trauma, with two Pennsylvania stops alone as they will play the Fillmore Philadelphia later this weekend as well in Fishtown, PA. Clearly, these guys adore Pennsylvania’s music scene!
Justin Stone began the night serving hip hop catchy lyricism to the nearly sold out Bethlehem crowd that closely resembled the likes of Twenty-One Pilots. Justin is an up and coming alternative hip-hop artist developing a mix of genres in pop, punk, emo, and rap. He is known for his most recent album, Look What You Started, which reached #10 on the iTunes Hip-Hop charts. Justin Stone appears on I Prevail’s song “Rise Above It” and had surprised fans later in the night in accompanying his tourmates on stage. More on that below.
After a short break between sets, Issues started their set in full force by diving right into delivering fan favorites such as “Coma” from Headspace and “Tapping Out”, which now has over a million hits on Spotify. The band built climatic energy throughout the night for their eager fans, delivering a force to be reckoned with and engaged the crowd effortlessly by playfully requesting mosh pits and thanking them. Frontman Tyler Carter requested fans to take out phones and wave them bringing them all even closer together.
Issues are an American rock band based in Atlanta, Georgia, founded in 2012. They are known for their combination of metalcore, nu-metal, pop, and contemporary R&B. The band released their debut studio album, Issues (2014), highlighted be DJ-based breakdowns and a mixture of metalcore and electronica, charting at #9 on the US Billboard 200. They released their remix album, Diamond Dreams, in November 2014. Their second studio album, Headspace, was released in May 2016. Issues have won two accolades, including the Alternative Press Music Award for Artist of the Year in 2015 and for Best Bassist the following year.
Fans had finally caught their breath for the night’s headliner, I Prevail and as they took the stage, their fans erupted into deafening cheers and many, breaking off into mosh pits. Stage divers had climbed onto the backs of others to make their way forward and to get a piece of front-row action. I Prevail’s set also felt intimate as lead singer Brian Burkheiser discussed his personal trauma taking a song break during “Scars” and began to address the crowd the importance of mental health. “After my vocal injury, I almost gave up and left my band. I was in the worst mental state of my life and felt like everything we worked for was over.” As I Prevail’s 2016 debut album, Lifelines started to gain traction, clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser received some news that every singer hates to break – he had a polyp on his vocal cord that needed to be surgically removed. Brian had shared this with his endearing fans thanking them and showing his gratitude by stressing to the crowd that he was relieved to have his voice back and was able to continue creating and performing music.
Trauma was that answer.
Review by Brendan Maurice | Photos by Nick Scalera Photography