If there was any indicator that the landscape of heavy music is currently in the middle of a cultural sea change, watching thousands of metalheads sing along to Turnstile's breakout anthem "Blackout" is all the prove anyone would ever need.
Among the more anticipated artists that added an element of the eclectic to the Knotfest Iowa roster, the Baltimore hardcore unit was somewhat of a wild card on the bill and yet despite the obvious contrast from the band's pink hue to the crowd's mostly black-clad garb, any skepticism that existed prior to the band's convincing 30-minute stage time has since been erased.
While the band's more current selections like "Mystery" delivered with the kind of the effectiveness to be expected from their 'Glow On'-era of domination, what was especially impressive was the kind participation that happened with selections like "Moon" from Turnstile's 2018 Time & Space album. With bassist Franz Lyons taking on the vocals, the crowd joined along seemed to resonate with the band in a surprising way. Maybe this was a Turnstile crowd more than anyone could've assumed - even guitarist Pat McCrory had to nod in a way that suggested he was equally impressed and maybe taken aback.
Despite being a band that thrives without the barricade, Turnstile managed to create a personal connection between their collective charge and the resulting spark in the crowd. Closing out their focused, frenetic live show with "TLC (Turnstile Love Connection)" the band once again proved their ability to bridge varying circles of subculture in a way that celebrates together, collectively in the the pit.
There is a case to be made that Louisville-standouts Knocked Loose delivered what was the first truly anticipated set of the day for Knotfest Iowa. It's difficult to understate how much of a powerful presence Bryan Garris is on the microphone - convincingly holding court and engaging the festival-sized crowd in a way that felt more like an intimate club show.
Songs from the band's more recent A Different Shade of Blue LP like "Mistakes Like Fractures" and "Trapped In the Grasp of A Memory" proved just as powerful as their earlier anthems in essentials like "Dead Ringer" and "Counting Worms"- a testament to the band's continuity and consistency.
Tapping into the infectious energy that only swelled as the set progressed, it became more apparent that among the emerging names of heavy music that are consistently in the conversation of who is next on deck - THIS was the reason why Knocked Loose continues to be tip of the tongue. Melding the collective experience of hardcore with the performance of metal, Knocked Loose likely earned a set of the day nod from those lucky enough to see it firsthand.