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Turnstile Concert Review

April 14th, 2018
The Bottleneck - Lawrence, KS

Brendan Yates of Turnstile
For whatever reason, it seems as though hardcore and punk are finally starting to get credit for their massive cultural influence. With the rise of bands like Code Orange, Power Trip, Krimewatch, and others, national music outlets and music fans at large are getting right. One of the other bands at the center of this moment is Turnstile. While the band remains somewhat divisive among those involved in DIY punk scenes -- signing to Roadrunner Records and making a trip to perform in Israel didn't help on this front -- it's tough to deny their success, influence, and constantly evolving sound.

Turnstile's new record, "Time & Space," is steeped in experimentation. One song features a rapid-fire keyboard line, another uses a throwback garage rock riff as a bridge, and yet another includes production from EDM big shot Diplo. These songs all might stop fans in their tracks upon first listen, but upon further inspection, for the most part, they all miraculously just kind of work.

Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré
Aside from the new set of songs and the fact that the band was finally headlining a stage the size of The Bottleneck, there wasn't much different from this Turnstile show and their last in the area. Fans were still welcomed on-stage with open arms, even to the detriment of some songs when the mic was fully snatched away from vocalist Brendan Yates. The only new element introduced was a three-piece set of toms for Yates to occasionally pound on. These drums didn't appear on the new record, but did add an extra punch to new songs like "High Pressure."

The majority of the show was textbook Turnstile, which is an instant win for any fans of groove-heavy, mosh-ready hardcore. Yates was in near constant motion, hop-skipping and skanking across the stage while letting out furious cries and cheerleading his band onward. Drummer Daniel Fang's fills were automatic and bassist Franz Lyons stole the show multiple times with well-timed spin-kicks and buttery backing vocals. The kinetic energy they displayed is currently unmatched by any other band touring America.

To a casual fan, Los Angeles post-hardcore band Touché Amoré may seem like a strange choice as support, but those tuned in to Turnstile's open-minded attitudes weren't surprised. The three groups that came before them were no less energetic, but the decade-old Touché had time on their side. The band delivered a catalog-spanning 40 minutes and touched on several early tracks that hadn't got much play in past years, resulting in massive sing-alongs. One pleasant bit of respite from their set of high voltage screamo was "Palm Dreams," a more melodic composition that gave vocalist Jeremy Bolm's constantly-shredded throat a small amount of rest -- he was still essentially shouting though.

Jenn Smith of Razorbumps
Bay Area rockers Culture Abuse brought their songs of struggle and survival to the Time & Space tour. Combining the tone of nineties grunge, mid-paced punk melodies, and hardcore power, Culture Abuse ripped through a short set comprised mainly of their 2016 breakout LP "Peach." David Kelling's low, throaty vocals were often flat, but his band's huge sound their fans' positive attitudes meant that it didn't matter all too much.

The show was opened by Denton's Razorbumps and Omaha's Bib. Both bands are signed to Pop Wig -- a new label founded by members of Turnstile -- and were on their first tour of non-DIY venues. The Bottleneck's PA quietly played Question Mark's "96 Tears" after Razorbumps set; the band offered a similarly vintage, garage rock feel during their short, electrifying set. Vocalist Jenn Smith ended their time with a long, heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped them out, but it was really everyone else that should have been grateful for the 'bumps being present.

Bib has now made half-a-dozen trips to the area and established themselves as one of the Midwest's premier hardcore bands in just three short years. Their cavernous sound easily filled the room -- the sound person remarked after their set that they didn't even require mics on their guitar amps. No mosh pits broke out during Bib or Razorbumps like they may have in a smaller room down K-10, but their performances were no less of a treat.

Full photo gallery here.

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