Baltimore five-piece Turnstile brought their infectious punk energy to The Forum in Melbourne on February 14.
I’ve never served a prison sentence before, but I imagine it’s pretty damn similar to how it felt waiting for the Baltimore based hardcore outfit Turnstile to come to Australia.
Since the release of the group’s third full-length Grammy-nominated record Glow On, I’ve spent hours watching Turnstile live footage on Youtube wishing that I was in the crowd. There’s just something about their sets; from the energy radiating from the band to the atmosphere of the crowd, it looks like a live set like no other. In other words, Turnstile was one show that I’d been really impatiently holding out for.
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Based on the insane demand for tickets, I wasn’t the only one excited about their return to Aus. In fact, I was far from it, with tickets to the group’s Laneway sideshows selling out immediately before becoming one of the most in-demand ticket searches on Tixel. Naturally, there were a lot of punters who missed out, although, for the lucky few who could make it along, it was a night that they’ll never forget.
Kicking things off was Speed, the up-and-comers from Sydney who have recently found themselves as the most hyped newcomers in the Australian hardcore scene. Although, not deservingly so, with their live set proving once and for all that they are an act worthy of your attention. Speed absolutely demolished their set, performing as if they were headlining to one of the most packed and receptive crowds I’d ever seen a support act open to.
From the opening seconds, it was wild, with the crowd going absolutely mental as Speed opened with their newest single ‘One Blood We Bleed’ before blasting into singles like ‘Shut It Down’ and ‘We See U’. With a who’s who of the Melbourne hardcore scene performing guest vocalists, one of the biggest pits The Forum had ever seen, and a stage show that saw members constantly swapping between different instruments and on-stage duties, Speed not only marked themselves as the new leaders of our hardcore scene but as one of the most exciting acts that Australia has to offer. And fuck, they did their job, with seemingly every punter feeling pretty well ‘warmed up’ before Turnstile hit the stage.
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Luckily, no one gassed themselves too hard, with Turnstile’s mosh living up to every bit of expectation and being one of the most intense I’d ever been a part of. From the opening riff of ‘MYSTERY’, there was an unmatchable energy present in the crowd, whether punters were racing into the mosh immediately or standing back to yell the tune of the song’s riff as if it was a soccer chant, the crowd was giving it their all. Earlier singles such as ‘Real Thing’, ‘Big Smile’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Blind’, all off the group’s beloved 2018 release Time + Space made surprise appearances early on, with the crowd showing clear excitement about their inclusion in the group’s setlist.
With more of a punk rock feeling than some of the group’s earlier work, ‘Blackout’ and ‘Underwater Boi’ really struck a chord in the set, with Blackout seeing the inclusion of additional on stage percussive arrangements and Underwater Boi giving way to the loudest singalongs of the night. ‘Don’t Play’ on the other hand, leant back into the group’s renowned hardcore sound, revving the crowd back up through its punchy breakdowns and rapid so-cal punk inspired riffs. As did the surprise inclusion of The Things You Do, the first song that the band ever wrote and released back in 2011, which gave way to some of the most intense circle pits of the night as the old school fans showed their excitement.
Considering his fun, energetic on stage demeanour, which quite commonly sees the inclusion of dance moves, pirouettes and spirit hands; the angst of vocalist Brenden Yates really shone through during the emotionally charged breakup song Fly Again. A moment that clearly left a lasting impression on many members in the crowd.
Closing the night with ‘Holiday’ and ‘T.L.C. (Turnstile Love Connection)’, Turnstile proved to Aussie audiences why they are so deserving of their title as the leaders of modern day hardcore, leaving a lasting impression as the crowd continued to change the closing lines to ‘T.L.C.’ even after the band had left the stage. It was truly as wholesome as hardcore can get.
This brings me to my next point. Sure, The Forum has hosted the likes of Thy Art Is Murder and Northlane before, but to my knowledge, they had never hosted a hardcore show. If they have, I can guarantee they hadn’t hosted one like Turnstile and Speed. It was honestly a show that needed to be seen to be believed, in my 10+ years of going to gigs I’d never seen anything like it.
Simply put, it was one of the most memorable hardcore shows Melbourne has ever seen, and one that punters will be undoubtedly talking about for years to come.