Turnover & Turnstile – Woolly Mammoth

Turnover/Turnstile – Woolly Mammoth – Monday, March 6, 2018

Written by Sam Laing

Photographed by Mitch Lowe

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Yet again, Brisbane was host to two of the United States’ brightest acts, Turnover and Turnstile. Both radically different from one another, I was excited to see how well they would mesh. Let’s get into it…

Fresh off the release of their sophomore album, Time & Space, Turnstile took to the stage of Brisbane’s Woolly Mammoth with the same visceral punch that has launched the Baltimore five-piece into hardcore’s stratosphere. And once you feel it, this punch, you’re almost flattened, for it hits with the force of a heavyweight boxer. It quickly becomes clear that Turnstile aren’t fucking around. They’ve got a message, and they’re wasting no time in delivering it.

A lot of credit is due to vocalist Brendan Yates, who, much like any good frontman, knows how to work a crowd. Yates, who is heavily involved in the hardcore scene back home in Baltimore, namely as the drummer in cult favourite band Trapped Under Ice, gives it his all. He doesn’t hold back. Noticeably, a lot of this effort is channelled into the relationship Yates builds with his audience. He (Yates) actively encourages his fans to join him on stage and essentially become part of the act; a level of intimacy that you don’t come to expect from the ordinary, run-of-the-mill show. Indeed, this is something special. If he (Yates) is not feeding the mic down the throats of the battle-hardened few who have weathered the pit and somehow reached the stage, he’s slinging it into the crowd, affording anyone and everyone the opportunity to send his thoughts and feelings right back at him.

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After almost a decade in existence, Turnstile showed no signs of slowing down. Even with the introduction of new material, the band have managed to rework their setlist in such a way that it covers the best of their growing discography. Songs like ‘Generator’, ‘Moon’ (which affords bassist “Freaky” Franz Lyons a more commanding role on vocals), and ‘Real Thing’ were put through their places alongside fan favourites such as ‘Fazed Out’, ‘Keep It Moving’, and ‘Pushing Me Away’.

Turnstile’s set can best be described as forty-five or so minutes of non-stop feeling (which is, funnily enough, the title of their debut album, released back in 2015), and only reaffirms their position as one of hardcore’s most exciting acts (especially after finishing on a high with my personal favourite track, ‘Death Grip’). They are innovative, intelligent, and perhaps most importantly, they possess the ability to establish a deep connection with whoever’s listening. More power to them.

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The stage was now set for the Virginia Beach outfit, Turnover to kick off what was the first stop of their maiden headline tour of Australia. Their return to the land down under comes a mere eight months since their last visit, where they played in support of heavy-hitters Touché Amoré, who had then just released their fourth studio album, Stage Four. However, this time it was different, this was their show.

Lead vocalist Austin Getz eased into the set with their latest hit ‘Super Natural’, which comes off their 2017 release Good Nature. It’s an extremely low-key way to start the show, but it’s more than enough to get heads nodding and shoulders swaying, which is what Turnover is all about.

The atmosphere lifts with ‘Dizzy on the Comedown’, a hit off their critically-acclaimed LP, Peripheral Vision. The crowd livens, and the noise level rises. Some embrace those who mean the most to them, others belt out Getz’s heaviest feelings as if they were their own, and you can feel a sense of collective belonging around you.

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He’s (Austin Getz) clearly a talented songwriter, capable of taking some of his deepest and darkest times (see for example ‘New Scream’ touches on the frontman’s bout(s) with depression and loss) and putting them into songs that can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. This is what draws the crowd closer and closer, the brutal honesty and raw emotion that is becoming harder to come by in a lot of the music out there.

The night draws to a close with ‘Humming’, another popular track from Peripheral Vision. Austin Getz thanks all those who came out, and those who stuck around after a particularly brutal set from long-time friends Turnstile. Despite his reclusiveness (Austin’s not an extrovert by any means), there is a noticeable sincerity in his message. It has come from the heart. He speaks of his love for his fans, and how the album (Good Nature) is a step forward for the band, not before wishing those who came down on a Monday night a polite farewell.

Ultimately, music is a vehicle that can express emotion and help us cope with the painful realities of life, and tonight, both Turnstile and Turnover were perfect examples of how all things negative can be turned positive with enough determination.

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