Turnstile Turned Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas into a Hardcore Bounce House
LAS VEGAS, NV – On a rainy, tension-filled Election Night, hardcore band Turnstile made their Las Vegas debut on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022, and they did so in incredible fashion.
The Baltimore-based band has been steadily growing a very dedicated fan base over the past 10 years or so, and they sold out Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas which has a capacity of about 3000 guests from what I have been able to gather.
The concert was a culmination of years of Vegas being neglected by many big bands, and a yearning to release pent up energy from a young crowd ready to see Turnstile in the flesh. The result was chaotic but absolutely unifying.
The supporting bands that played on the bill were the Bay Area jazz, R&B fusion band Spelllng (with 3 L’s) and alt-rock jammers, Snail Mail (technically a solo act of Lindsey Jordan that became a full band) who also hail from Maryland.
While I would say neither band fit the genre of Turnstile, I can definitely understand that if Turnstile had brought 2 other hardcore bands with them, then the crowd would be exhausted or even worse, get injured.
They also clearly didn’t need their supporting bands to bring any of the crowd as many of the dates on this tour had sold out just based on Turnstile’s reputation alone. So, it felt more like a “pay it forward” type of situation combined with just trying to enhance a peaceful and loving environment while still getting all the pent up aggression out in a healthy way.
I will talk more about that a bit later.
That’s not to say that both Spellling and Snail Mail weren’t good. They were. They were just a bit out of left field for what someone might expect (i.e. me) when going to a punk or hardcore show. They each held their own, and got the crowd cheering for them.
It’s also one of the unique abilities of Turnstile that they can bring an incredibly diverse fanbase together and everyone get along and listen to the band and just enjoy a rowdy floor show.
Hell, before Turnstile came on stage, the house P.A. blasted Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” with synchronized lighting which got the whole crowd singing. It was a strange but joyous duality.
All that preamble was just window dressing for what was about to come though.
Turnstile finally did make it to the stage, and when they did, they built up to an explosion by playing my personal favorite song from their newest album Glow On, “HOLIDAY.”
When I say they “rocked” the hell out of Brooklyn Bowl, I mean that 100% literally. The floor was bouncing in any area you could stand, which is not something I have ever really seen happen at Brooklyn Bowl before, and I have been there probably 50 times or so.
The band played a great mix of songs that helped give the crowd a break between the sheer raw energy of the harder songs like “BLACKOUT” and “FLY AGAIN.”
The band got through 18 songs in just about one hour. It does help that many of their songs are only about 2 or 3 minutes long.
They played at least one song from every era of the band including “The Things You Do” off their first EP “Pressure to Succeed.” Other notable songs from the setlist were “Real Thing,” “Moon” and “Big Smile” off of their 2018 album Time & Space as well as “Drop” from their 2016 album Nonstop Feeling.
The majority of the set was songs from Glow On though. Fan favorites like “UNDERWATER BOI” and “ALIEN LOVE CALL” are a couple examples of the slow songs that broke up the moshing.
One thing I was kind of surprised by was the theatrics of the live show. Timed blackouts that turned into segues for tuning instruments and acapella singing to pump the crowd along with a semi-choreographed 50 minute workout routine (not unlike Tai Bo or Zumba) from lead singer Brendan Yates made the show a fully interactive experience.
There was also a roughly 5-minute break after the song “FLY AGAIN” where drummer Daniel Fang played a highly technical and pretty incredible drum solo with all spotlights and attention on him.
I think this was sort of the traditional break before an encore, because Turnstile did NOT play any kind of encore which even if I heard someone tell me they don’t play an encore, I wouldn’t have believed it. But it’s true. They finished their set with “T.L.C. TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION)” and invited about 20 fans on stage to dance with them while everyone in the building went nuts.
The show ended by the band and fans slowly making their way off stage and Yates was sitting with his arm around one fan who looked incredibly emotional while they talked and hugged until everyone eventually parted ways and the house lights came on.
As I was leaving the venue, I heard a few comments like, “Well, that was my workout for the week,” as sweat drenched fans looked for any source of cooler air.
I had never seen Turnstile before, and I hadn’t really gotten the full appeal of their music before this show. Don’t get me wrong, I like their music, but I had mixed reactions on about half of their music. Watching them live though, it all made sense. You can’t just smash 15 hardcore songs on an album and then go out and play them while people in your crowd pass out from exhaustion.
It seems Turnstile learned the lessons of past bands who went hard all the time at the expense of the safety of their fans. Turnstile was even throwing bottles of water into the crowd to keep fans hydrated and to cool off.
These guys seem to “get it.” No one will ever leave a Turnstile show disappointed as long as they keep going like this.