After the show sold out in minutes over the summer, the day finally arrived for a packed house of angsty Turnstile fans eager to see one of the hottest bands in the world.
Accompanying the bursting Baltimore-based hardcore-alt-punk act were two female-fronted acts; experimental popper Spellling, who was playing just her second show on the tour, and fellow Marylander Snail Mail.
Fans began flocking into the Van Buren just about an hour before the tunes began, forming a line that stretched almost to the stage to purchase what merchandise was still available.
Accompanied by a full band including a keyboardist and two backup singers, Spellling took the stage just after the clock struck 7 p.m. emerging to an ominous piano lick that transitioned into a bassy groove as soon as she made her appearance.
Once she took control of her microphone, she overtook the crowded venue wowing audience members with her vocal prowess.
Though her setlist started jazzily, the rest of her songs straddled the genre lines of dream pop, shoegaze, and R&B, giving audience members a large dose of the softer/lighter tunes that would be heard later in the evening.
While Spellling’s vocal range grabbed the crowd’s attention, the entanglement of classical and synthesized piano kept the audience’s ears glued to the sounds protruding from the stage.
The show was visually captivating as the stage was lit with bright colored lights. Spellling and her backing vocalists kept the audience entertained by bursting into slow, almost ritualistic dances that created an immersive musical experience.
Though the setlist was mostly packed with slower jams, it paved the way for the energetic acts that would ensue by getting feet tapping and bodies swaying during the nearly 45-minute long setlist.
After a quick stage sweeping, the five-piece act Snail Mail took the stage around 8 p.m. delivering more groovy tunes for listeners to immerse themselves in.
Like the preceding act, Snail Mail provided a groovier alternative sound but with a grungier accent.
The guitars featured a more distorted sound and the keys were tuned to a more ominous melody that hummed along with the harmonic guitar rhythms.
Snail Mail also caught the attention of the audience with her stellar vocal prowess as she strummed along to her bright red Fender Jagstang.
Though several comparisons could have been made between Snail Mail and Spellling, the biggest contrast between the two acts was the boxy beats that Snail Mail’s music lent itself to.
The beat was so boxy and packed such a punch, the audience could feel it in their chests.
The band also delivered a bigger band sound by featuring as many as three guitarists on some tracks.
Though the band’s set was a bit brisk, clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the band wasted no time packing in as many jams as it could into its allotted setlist.
After two lighter-sounding acts had warmed up fans, the crowd was rowdy and ready to prove it.
The lights shifted to an alternating pink and bright white hue as Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” served as the interlude to the band’s performance.
However, once the hardcore alt-punkers hit the stage, there was everything but dancing.
From the moment the soft bass lick kicked in signaling the tune “Holiday” — which, as of recently, can be heard in a Taco Bell commercial and a Converse ad on social media — the crowd piled on to one another and a sea of bouncing fans served as the metronome throughout the tune.
The crowd kept the beat the rest of the night as Turnstile brought the energy with a lively and dynamic setlist that largely culled from the band’s breakthrough album, 2021’s “GLOW ON.”
These were also the songs that drew the loudest roars from the crowd lyrically as audience members vocally overpowered vocalist Brendan Yates on tunes like “BLACKOUT,” “UNDERWATER BOI” and the hit tune “FLY AGAIN.”
Although Yates spent most of the setlist at center stage, he did venture back to the drum riser to show off his percussive talents on tracks like “NEW HEART DESIGN” and “I Don’t Wanna Be Blind.”
While most eyes were glued to Yates throughout the setlist, the rest of the band ventured into the spotlight at points of the hour-long show.
The band’s newest addition, Greg Cerwonka — who has filled the void left behind by founding guitarist Brady Ebert, who announced his departure from the band in August — shredded his way through several solos throughout the setlist.
Drummer Daniel Fang was also allotted just over five minutes to beat the tar out of his white sparkle Ludwig drum set clad with pink flowers wrapped around the cymbal stands and a pink plush toy sitting atop the kick drum as he ripped through a roll and cymbal heavy drum solo.
Bassist and backing vocalist “Freaky” Franz Lyons also showed off his vocal prowess by taking over the microphone on the brief tune “NO SURPRISE” — which served as an interlude to the band’s breakthrough single “MYSTERY.”
After the energy reached a peak with “MYSTERY” — the penultimate track of the setlist — Yates brought the noise down and used the brief moments of quietness to thank the fans in attendance for taking care of each other, being here, being themselves and most importantly letting him be himself.
The show concluded with the track “T.L.C. (TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION) which the crowd responded to by belting out the chorus “I want to thank you for letting me see myself, I want to thank you for letting me be myself” at the top of their lungs.
After the setlist concluded, instead of bowing out and taking to the side stage, Turnstile opted for a more intimate route.
The band bid adieu to the fans by braving the trek through the gap between the stage and riser, shaking hands, taking selfies, and brushing arms with some fans who crowd-surfed their way up to the front.
After the show, a sea of breathless fans flooded towards the exits recounting the chaotic yet cathartic setlist they had just witnessed.
NEW HEART DESIGN
I Don’t Wanna Be Blind
The Things You Do
ALIEN LOVE CALL
T.L.C. (TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION)