The incredible triple bill of Turnstile, JPEGMAFIA, and Snail Mail kicked off The Turnstile Love Connection Tour at The Brooklyn Mirage and brought the hardcore energy to life through pouring rain.
Stacked triple bills are certainly the hottest trend in the New York City scene at the moment and the tour opener for Turnstile, JPEGMAFIA, and Snail Mail proved that killer line-ups aren't always limited to one-off shows and even constant rain couldn't dampen the festivities.
The last time Snail Mail played New York City it was to headline sold-out shows at the elaborate Kings Theatre so to see Lindsey Jordan and company play first on a triple bill and to a rather empty venue was a bit of a surprise. Sure, it was raining consistently throughout, but given the recent success of last year's great Valentine, I expected fans to turnout, regardless. Confined to two crammed tents on the stage, it was a rather restrictive set from the band and while those who got there early not just for a spot close to the stage, but to embrace the warm guitar tones of Snail Mail, it was hard to feel the motivation. "I live here and I hate living here" Jordan told the crowd early on in her set and, to me, that felt like a comment that could've been kept quiet to those who came out early to brave the weather. There's few things worse for a concert than seeing someone who isn't really thrilled to be there and while Lindsey did seem amped to play with the other bands and kick-off the tour, it was a bit of a sour note that was hard to recover from, even when shredding through "Pristine," "Heat Wave," and set closer "Valentine."
JPEGMAFIA had the difficult task of being a hip-hop act sandwiched between indie rock and hardcore, but the beauty of this tour came through as fans went hard for the visceral hip-hop act and endured more rain as he barreled through his set. Playing alone on stage is a challenging task and having no DJ didn't seem to do him favors as he had to rush back to his laptop between tracks which briefly killed his momentum and when he asked for all the lights to be cut, it was hard to feel energized in the darkened venue. His surprising cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" was, however, a killer flex and it was clear that the rest of the crowd was enthralled in his performance.
Even as the rain continued, everything seemed to subtly subside when the iconic Whitney Houston's all-time classic "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" blasted from the speakers and the entire crowd danced and sang along, briefly forgetting the weather and feeling overcome by the music. It may have seemed out of place, but as the song ended and Turnstile unleashed the opening notes to "HOLIDAY," the venue erupted into total frenzy. It was an insane transition, but one that forwent any notion that hardcore and pop have no place together and from that moment on, the night was set to ten and nothing, not even the rain, could take things down a notch. Personally, it was the largest hardcore show I've ever seen (the venue's capacity is 6,000 and this one was sold out!) and people were certainly ready to rage along with these newfound heroes of hardcore. Still riding high from last year's epic GLOW ON, the hardcore quintet blasted away through killer riffs, throbbing bass, and absolutely ballistic drumming. In the way that Deafheaven appealed to more of the hipster metal crowd, Turnstile have taken a similar trajectory for punks and seeing them absolutely destroy the massive space of The Brooklyn Mirage only further indicated just how much crossover success they've had over the past year and gives so much hope to the future of the genre. I'm also not sure I've ever seen a hardcore band bring out a saxophone player, but even that moment absolutely ruled and proved a brief relief as the intensity kicked right back in once he left the stage. Every track sounded spectacular and overflowed with energy and the band delivered it all in stride. They also made great use of the venue's monstrous video screens and projected live footage of themselves and the crowd to make the venue feel a bit more intimate. Seeing the close-up shots was great and really made you feel like you were right there with the band, but the slight delay between the sound and videos made things a little wonky and the dizzying effect was intensified by the raging crowd. Drummer Daniel Fang kept the group tightly locked-in to their groove and about halfway through the set let loose with a brilliant drum solo that showcased how he's not only capable of nasty blast beats, but can also ignite pandemonium with the swift hit of a drumstick. Here's to hoping more hardcore bands can start offering up roaring solos in their sets as well. Singer Brendan Yates sprinted across the stage, delivering high kicks and precise arm movements, developing his own style of showmanship that once again transcended the idea of what a hardcore frontman could do and the crowd ate it up. As the set progressed, he took off his shirt to reveal his ripped physique, like a hardcore Brandon Boyd of Incubus circa their late '90s heyday mixed with Gavin Rosedale of Bush's epic MTV Spring Break performance of "Glycerine" in the pouring rain, and somehow gave even more to the set as things began to heat up. "BLACKOUT" was another raging success, but when the group hit the opening melody of "MYSTERY," the crowd exploded with unprecedented force taking things to a new level of pure chaos. "TLC" closed out their set and the band looked positively thrilled to have played such a wild, outdoor show in October while a hurricane passed through New York City.
02 "Real Thing"
03 "Big Smile"
04 "I Don't Wanna Be Blind"
05 "The Things You Do"
07 "NEW HEART DESIGN"
08 "UNDERWATER BOI"
10 "DON'T PLAY"
12 "FLY AGAIN"
14 "ALIEN LOVE CALL"
15 "NO SURPRISE"
17 "T.L.C. (TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION)"