Turnstile’s rise has been one of the greatest success stories from hardcore in recent years. On their second album, Nonstop Feeling, they were one of the most exciting hardcore bands in the underground, with a live show that had many describing them as one of the best live bands around. Time & Space saw their popularity grow, but it’s on album 4 Glow On that the band have truly exploded. The idea of a modern hardcore band headlining venues like The Roundhouse and The Forum feels like such an insane thought, but Turnstile have sold out both, and across both nights seemed to bring so much joy to everyone in attendance.
First up though were London’s own Chubby and the Gang who provide a nice, raucous opening to the evening. They just play the noisiest, no nonsense hardcore punk you could imagine. Basic hack and slash riffs, but played with so much intensity and vocalist Charlie Manning-Walker is as in your face as you can get. Belting out every line with so much attitude and just coming across as every bit the rowdy punk. They do suffer from some muddy sound, but the songs are straightforward enough that they do land. And whilst the crowd doesn’t exactly go wild for its everyone seems to have a good time for the 30 minutes they’re on stage. (7/10)
This is nothing compared to what followed though. The moment the lights go down The Forum is filled with chants of “TLC, TLC, TLC” and the entire floor seems to open up into one huge pit as Turnstile erupt on stage into MYSTERY. Usually at a gig you’ll find the pit tends to stick to the middle of the venue and those stood at the side are safe, but not tonight. The chaos is everywhere, with bodies flying around and everyone just having the best time. People don’t even stop moshing to sing-along, the energy from both the band and crowd is just electric and it never dips for the entire set. Obviously it’s the Glow On material that dominates the set and gets the biggest reactions, but there’s something so cool about seeing songs like Fazed Out and Drop to cause a packed out forum to go berserk.
Any sound issues from earlier in the night are long gone and Turnstile sound crystal clear. Brendan Yates seems to never stop bouncing around the stage and dancing, but this never effects his performance. And they just look like the coolest band around. There’s no need for any fancy lights or stage show, Turnstile bring enough to look cool and then just let the songs do the talking. And they pack those songs in, blasting through 24 songs in one hour. They do slow things down on occasion to let people catch their breath, such as the brilliant ALIEN LOVE CALL which gets the biggest sing along of the night. This was quickly eclipsed though by the explosion of joy and violence when HOLIDAY dropped causing the pit to go even harder, the sort of reaction that just cements that track as a modern classic within hardcore.
And what this set really drills home is how Turnstile have gone on to become so much more than just a hardcore band, but haven’t lost their roots. Songs shift so fluidly from hardcore to pop, to dance, that it’s so easy to see why this band have blown up far beyond hardcore. And all this is still packed into two minute songs. For a set that moved so fast and was full of so many brilliant moments they still managed to save the very best until the end, with the closing combination of Gravity and T. L. C. which both see a tidal wave crowd surfers surge towards the stage.
This current UK tour, with the two massive London shows in particular, is sure to be seen as a real standout moment for Turnstile. After two years of all kinds of misery, they came and delivered one of the most exciting and feel good gigs I have ever been to. This show just felt like such a victorious moment for one of the most individual bands within hardcore. And what makes it even more exciting is how it still feels like Turnstile can climb higher. There are just few bands out there right now who can match what Turnstile are doing. (10/10)