The abundance of energy Turnstile is not to be taken lightly; not a soul in sight was showing no visible signs of infection as their brand of contagious punk spread throughout the modest, but catering Mill venue.
The spirit of punk is well and goddamn truly alive, existing in a life form so electric as Turnstile that the band make Tesla cars look like soon to be outdated petrol vehicles.
Having never been to see a punk band before (to be honest punk is not a preferred genre of mine, but the Baltimore band’s hardcore edge has that oomph that captivated me, and the groove to sway me) and having heard plenty about the riot that ensued during their show in Glasgow the previous night resulting in a bath of controversy, I was sure what I’d gotten myself into would not be a casual night of musical enjoyment.
Arriving slightly late to the venue as I exhibited the luxury afforded myself this evening of not being on interview duty, meaning I’d have to be at the venue usually a couple of hours before the action takes place – don’t get me wrong, I LOVE interviewing bands (which it seems I’ve been doing a lot of as of late) but it does make for a pleasant change for once to be able to rock up whenever I please – so this meant missing most of opening act Big Cheese.
What I did hear of them suggested to me they were an apt choice as first band of the night and they seemed to garner a solid reception. Baffling me slightly, was the appointment of Wicca Springs Phase Eternal (still trying to comprehend his name…) as his offering of droning, sorrow laden r&b that thinks it’s masquerading as hip-hop served to satisfy perhaps 1/8th of the crowd, with simply boring the rest of us.The best part of his set was when a geezer behind me (who humorously went NUTS when Turnstile came on) likened Mr Wicca to a sheep, which prompted hearty laughs from myself and a retort of how I wished to see a sheep strolling the stage, ferociously ‘baa-ing’ as that would have honestly been more entertaining. Sorry Mr. Wicca, you just ain’t no Big Cheese (sorry lol I had to).
Despite his effective anti-support, chaos didn’t need much in the way of encouragement to spread throughout the crowd at the first meagre glimpse of Turnstile taking to the stage, and it was not long at all until the gears were raced through, placing the gathered audience solely in the palms of Brendan Yates and co.
The diversity of attendees while surprising, was pleasing to see as proof of music’s ever present ability to bring people from all walks of life together – again perhaps its cause this was my first punk show but I did not expect to see any Stone Island coats or lads who’d look more comfortable with gunfingers poised, eckies inebriating at some trance rave. The hardest task for the Turnstile members, was simply retaining their access to the microphone stands to deliver their lines, as there were far more moments where the stage was totally invaded, flooded with fanatics than not.
Little was said other than the lyrics passionately delivered / screamed, as nothing other than these words really needed to be expressed. The main exception to this was at the end of the set, where Brendon thanked the audience for their ‘Time and Space‘, which was pretty nifty.
There was a momentous unspoken understanding on both ends; the music did everything necessary. Each track garnered mass sing alongs and frantic pit action, as stated previously you got used very quickly to seeing many of the audience members invading the stage which the band thrived off impressively.
Perhaps the most important, or impactful thing about this gig was the catharsis it provided: Personally, I had been feeling really low recently and heavily considered not attending the evening at all (clearly things were bad) – boy am I glad the sucker for a penetrating riff and the exhilaration of live music inside got the better of me – and for a good forty five minutes, everything that had plagued me mentally just vanished, as freely as Brendon abandoned his top. You could contrive the show as being a huge breath of relief, an aaah bisto advert of it’s own kind – except this gravy was far more pertinent.