Hardcore’s reigning trailblazers deliver a dazzling show and share their shine with their most passionate fans.
Words by Kevin Silva
Almost six months to the day since their critically acclaimed release of the genre-defying album Glow On, Turnstile has again returned to Los Angeles, California for their Turnstile Love Connection Tour.
Over those several months in the album cycle, the Baltimore five-piece have transcended the conventions of alternative culture and crashed through the ceiling any conventional hardcore punk band.
From a beloved NPR Tiny Desk concert in front of a wall of stuffed animals to a true to form energetic performance on Late Night with Seth Myers which would lead to drummer Daniel Fang sitting in with the late-night show’s house band, The 8G Band, for a week run in January as well as a run in the UK.
We’ve all seen the well-deserved success take place in front of our eyes and now that brings us to the first of two sold out shows at Downtown Los Angeles’ Novo where the band will finish the weekend having played to nearly 5,000 people that have been looking forward to these shows for months.
Outside there are thousands of people taking over Downtown’s L.A. Live as fans of Turnstile share the area with Bad Bunny fans as he will be performing across the street at the newly named Crypto.com Arena.
Inside Citizen is wrapping up their set featuring songs from their latest release Life In Your Glass World as Turnstile’s team has further made this tour like few others with a free Glow On-themed photobooth that’s getting massive use throughout the evening.
The anticipation builds as Turnstile goes on later than scheduled to allow people awaiting to be checked in to make it inside for the show, but all is well as Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” plays over the PA.
Finally, the crowd is in, and the time has arrived.
Turnstile bursts onstage with their lead single from Glow On “MYSTERY” and the crowd did what they do best and went absolutely off matching the energy of our headliners.
From there we’re hit with the one-two punch from 2018’s Time & Space of “Real Thing” and “Big Smile” into “BLACKOUT”.
Now comes the part of the set where the capacity crowd indulges pure vibe, soaking in the summer 2021 single “UNDERWATER BOI” as singer Brendan Yates grooved on stage getting lost in the sound – prompting the fans to follow.
Let’s take a quick moment to discuss the visuals of this show as the lighting concept seems so simple but the use of haze and lights in the right way feel like you’re in a Saved By The Bell dream sequence at times and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
The Novo isn’t necessarily the friendliest venue to this type of show. However, that doesn’t stop the energy, nor the influx of people with or without pit wristbands to make it down to that section. Much to the chagrin of the security working this evening who were not prepared for kids hopping railings and head-walking their way up front, Turnstile fueled the frenzy ripping into “DON’T PLAY’ and “ENDLESS”.
Freaky Franz takes lead on the mic now with those sultry tones for “NO SURPRISE”.
As the set moves forward we get a wonderful display of everything this band has done throughout their career including nods to the Turnstile Tribe with 2013’s “Canned Heat” and tracks off 2016’s Nonstop Feeling like “Blue by You”, “Fazed Out” and “Gravity”.
If you’ve never been to a Turnstile show, it should be reiterated that the band’s performance is a communal experience -a symbiotic relationship between the action on stage and the floor. It’s that dynamic that nurtures the band continued growth all without compromising that same connection in seeing the same show at any small DIY venue.
Even Demi Lovato came out to the gig.
The night comes to a close as we’ve come to expect with some “T.L.C. (TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION)” as Yates yells out what feels like the ethos of Turnstile declaring, “I want to thank you for letting me see myself, I want to thank you for letting me be myself”.
As the band leaves stage there is a beat still playing and no one is moving awaiting a potential encore even after the 20-song set as Brendan comes back out to sing “thank you” to what feels like a remix of sorts of their closer and that is where the set ends.
Walking out of the venue, everyone has a smile on their face and sweat on their clothes as we’re greeted with street dog vendors, Bad Bunny bootleggers (which I may or may not have purchased one on the cheap – reference photo below) and a man ripping on the sax on the sidewalk to the band we just watched – basking in the afterglow of being participants in Turnstile’s victory lap.
TLC isn’t just a song, not just a vibe, but for it’s most impassioned believers, a celebration of life.