Concluding a breakneck run of 4 UK shows in Leeds tonight, on the hallowed LUU Refectory stage, Turnstile’s triumphant return to UK shores feels more like a homecoming than a long awaited visit from brothers across the pond. There is a truly familial camaraderie within the 2,100 strong audience, clearly reflected back by each and every member of the 5 piece hardcore crossover act throughout an intimate, uplifting set.
Indeed the band is fast building a history and reputation in the area with previous performances almost becoming the stuff of legend. Their last appearance at 2019’s Slam Dunk Festival solidified TURNSTILE’s place very much between hardcore and more mainstream punk audiences here. It is then little surprise that tickets for these shows have been in such high demand lately, and believe me, those lucky to hold them bore witness to something transcendent.
With many persevering a bout of miserable West Yorkshire weather in order to queue for doors, opener Chubby and the Gang take it upon themselves to get everybody warmed and thankfully dry. As such, humidity hangs in the air, thick enough for London based punk outfit to cut with a switchblade.
Chubby and the Gang, lead by vocalist and proud ex-London taxi driver, Charles “Chubby” Manning-Walker, showcase a variety of punk rock thrills, bound together with a snarling pro-worker, pro-left sentiment, with many songs dedicated in jest to the Metropolitan Police of London.
A motoric beat drives a fierce but profoundly happy twin guitar attack, with subtly humorous, blatantly angered lyricism, culminating in what feels like the ultimate feel-good party starter.
The excruciating build up of anticipation for TURNSTILE’s arrival on stage is joyous all the same with a playback of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” sung seemingly in it’s entirety by a buzzing floor at capacity. But excitement reaches fever pitch at the dreamy synth prelude of MYSTERY, whereby a steady tide of crowd surfing accelerates instantly.
The euphoric audience response is equally met by the members astonishment at such rapture, they know this will be a night to remember.
Enigmatic vocalist Brendan Yates is on top form, the stage now his acrobatic playground – bounding and leaping from riser to speaker and back. Yates’ incredible aerial feats are much more than just showmanship, they bring such gravitas to the thumping beats and drops, not just hallmark of hardcore, but especially in his bands music, in songs such as DON’T PLAY or Big Smile.
Perhaps inspired by such a physical performance, but undoubtedly overcome by the music, somebody in tonight’s crowd launches themselves from the perimeter balcony into the crowd some 5 feet below during Come Back For More, drawing gasps from most who saw it unfold.
With GLOW ON making up the bulk of their setlist, especially early on, it’s truly in the second half of tonight’s show when TURNSTILE’s mettle shines. GLOW ON has been rightly lauded by many (myself included) as the best release of 2021, and seamlessly fits in with their considerably thrashier older material, and in fact when performed in a live setting is identifiably heavier, faster, and unbelievably impassioned.
Major fan favorites later appear, including Moon, of course sung stunningly by bassist Franz Lyons. Segueing into ALIEN LOVE CALL generates a truly cosmic vibe, with cross-fading synth programming melding intricately with uniquely tonal guitar lead lines. Echoes of “Can’t be the only one” linger throughout the hall closing out the latter song, not uttered by Yates, but by a strong chorus of fans singing their absolute hearts out here.
The infectiously catchy breakout hit HOLIDAY works wonders uniting this already remarkably inclusive and diverse throng. Upstairs, parents with younger kids on their backs charge around the spacious floor, like pets expending zoomies, whilst those below are united in song, some in dance. The call and answer of HOLIDAY literally ringing out louder than the band and Lyons magnetic bass lines.
Moments later, we’re encouraged to unite once again, as Brendan calls out to those with someone they love tonight, to “pick them up, up on your shoulders”, and whilst some literally follow instruction, likely all here honour the suggestion at least in metaphor.
Not before closing out with a huge bang; in what feels like a time machine in motion, we’re treated to many more old classics, not least of all – EP opener 7, demonstrating riffs way beyond a band at that stage in their career. All building up to a colossal performance of T.L.C. – featuring one last burst of athleticism onstage, the calls of “I want to thank you for letting me be myself” ring on long after the band leave us bathing in pink lights, we GLOW ON into the night.
TURNSTILE will embark on the Turnstile Love Connection tour across North America this April, before returning to Europe for rescheduled dates in June-July.
02-23 San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom 02-24 Los Angeles, CA – The Novo 03-18 Buenos Aires, Argentina – Hip 03-25 São Paulo, Brazil – Autódromo José Carlos Pace 03-27 Sopo, Colombia – Briceño 18 Campo de Golf 04-26 Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre 04-27 Salt Lake City, UT – Soundwell 04-29 Vancouver, British Columbia – The Rickshaw Theatre 04-30 Seattle, WA – The Showbox 05-02 Portland, OR – Roseland Theater 05-04 Albuquerque, NM – El Rey Theatre 05-06 Austin, TX – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater 05-07 Dallas, TX – Amplified Live 05-09 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade 05-10 Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl 05-12 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave 05-13 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater 05-14 Lawrence, KS – The Granada Theater 05-17 Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre 05-18 Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre 05-19 Toronto, Ontario – The Phoenix Concert Theatre 05-21 Worcester, MA – Palladium 05-23 Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel 05-24 Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore Philadelphia 05-26 Washington, D.C.- 9:30 Club