You could have confused the Corner Hotel band room for a party tonight. The vibe was high and excited, with a decent crowd already gathered and keen shortly after doors opened. We were all there for what Jake Zammit coined as ‘TURNFEST’: Turnover and Turnstile, along with local supports Neighbourhood Youth and Broken.
Melbourne hardcore band Broken set the bar high, bringing an impressively strong start to the night with solid unity. These guys are a force to be reckoned with, from the drums outward. It was pretty obvious that drummer Jake was having an incredible time; fierce beats coupled with a grin of elation or a grimace of intensity. The entire band seemed at home on the stage, and an adoring crowd backed their tight performance with relentless energy. Broken expressed gratitude for the scene, as we hung on every riff while these guys fell into beast mode. It’s safe to say that Broken dominated the Corner with their set, not held back at all by the absence and subsequent replacement of a band member.
Neighbourhood Youth tentatively took the stage, immediately giving off a warm hearted vibe, as a trio of voices joined in gorgeous harmony to share their stories. Dreamy and emotive instrumental moments combined with a heartwarming vibe had Neighbourhood Youth hit a sweet spot of emotive rock, and took us all on an escapist adventure of soundscapes, soft beats, and exploratory guitar. This 180 shift from the previous set felt like a waking dream and while it was mild enough for a show-goer to keep easy hold of his red wine directly in front of the stage, fans were still engaged enough to let out a shout of “I fuckin love you!” toward the four piece. We honoured the band’s invitation to be with them on this multilayered exhalation; a moment where it felt like everything would be okay.
Between bands, I had a moment of feeling moved by how this juxtaposition of hectic and calm, and highs and lows, seemed to capture the waves of life itself.
Dirty riffs in Turnstile’s sound check were a sweet taster, whetting our appetites before they had even started. Packed like sardines now, an air of amplified keenness blanketed the crowd, and bassist shoutouts during sound check felt casual, open, and friendly. And then they started..
Goddamn Turnstile knows how to open a set; slamming us with their bright and energetic vibe. Grooving riffs and sweet bass had the hot and sweaty crowd going wild, trying to keep up with their blistering pace. We were as all-in as we could be, mirroring the Washington DC band’s intensity. The vocalist joined the crowd, amping us up into insanity, with face-punch instrumental sections keeping us moving in this sauna of a band room. Turnstile took us in unexpected and captivating places, never skipping a beat and their rhythmic rap-ish sections were a stand out. Tight instrumental sections with sexy bass grooves were the only breather, as this ‘play like we only have minutes to live’ band were unwaveringly all-in. With no room for anything like a circle pit, the crowd was a rough mosh, with a steady stream of enthusiastic crowd surfers and stage dives. The four piece were endlessly entertaining to watch, with the bassist and guitarist interplay being fun to observe. This is an incredible team, individually at the peak of their craft. Frenetic energy aside, Turnstile acknowledged our respect for each other during their set.
Turnover were chilled from the sound check alone, with a purple fog setting the emotional scene as their melodic sound emanated from the stage. I immediately had a feeling like I wanted to cry, and the emotional heaviness didn’t leave. Emotionally raw, Turnover’s songs shared waves of loss as well as vulnerable hope for something more. I ached along with these songs that felt like hope pinned on something flimsy, and a sense of trying and picking oneself up, again and again. Melodic waves met each of us in the dark, through an orange fog and invited us to lose ourselves in the music, even though the ache tumbling out by song was tough to stay present with at times. Turnover were somehow making the very real aches of life into something beautiful, with tender vocal moments and a gorgeous melodic sound.
Captivated faces soaked up this emotional exploration, listening intently and swaying along to this sedate set, where cushions and couches wouldn’t have been out of place. Their set punctuated by tuning changes, the crowd affectionately joined in with their favourite songs and empassioned singalongs and soaring guitars had Turnover’s set end strongly. The Virginian band promoted Turnstile’s Time And Space album and remained humble and grateful throughout, acknowledging of the kindness, support and love they’ve received.
Photos of Turnstile and Turnover are courtesy of Rowan Donohue @ Woolly Mammoth in Brisbane.