Every once in a while there is a show lineup that looks strange on paper but you know it will hit the spot. This was certainly the case when hardcore punk band Turnstile announced their tour featuring indie rock stars Snail Mail and experimental rapper JPEGMafia. It’s the sort of lineup that just sounds fun, combining these seemingly distant artists’ genres into one delicious mosh. This past Sunday at Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, the prophecy came true as the three acts turned the venue into a smoldering mosh pit .
Snail Mail kicked off the night with a few lighter sounds than what would follow. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Lindsey Jordan perform quite a bit in smaller venues and she’s always a pleasure. Her voice, both as a songwriter and singer, is fantastic and always a treat; even when the world has a few tricks up its sleeves like it did during this performance. Despite a failing pedal board and other equipment outright not working, Jordan pushed forward, annoyed with the bad luck that had fallen on her. She attempted to play a song or two without the pedals and while the crowd was certainly supportive, it was just too much going wrong beyond her control. “I’m just gonna sing Valentine and fuck off because this is not fun,” she said at the end of her set when everything had finally been too much. It’s a shame because what we did get to hear was excellent. I just hope the next time I get to see her in a big venue, luck is on her side.
JPEGMafia, the rap alias of Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks, took the middle spot in the lineup and before the lights even dimmed, the crowd was getting rowdy. I had seen JPEGMafia, or Peggy as the crowd would be chanting all night, quite a bit as well so I knew what was in store. Saying that JPEGMafia is an unrestrained performer is an understatement. After a brief and chill intro there was no stopping the man from running around on stage, amping up the growing moshes in the crowd. “Jesus Forgive Me, I’m a Thot” is a fantastic party starter and Peggy never let the party stop rolling. The floor was quaking as much as you’d expect and JPEGMafia was giving it back to the crowd, blasting his songs to an overwhelming degree.
Whether he was looking for his bald brethren in the crowd to rise up for “BALD!” or jumping into the crowd and performing in the midst of swirling fans’ moshpits, JPEGMafia was the exact kind of energy the night needed. Add to that a cover of Denzel Curry’s “VENGEANCE | VENGEANCE” or Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” which only riled up the adoring crowd even more, and you have a show-stealing set. Honestly you haven’t lived until you’ve seen three separate mosh pits and a miniature Wall of Death form to sounds of Peggy serenading the crowd with “Call Me Maybe.”
While on any other night that performance would have been the cherry on top, Turnstile was the main event and treated their performance as such. There was a short reprieve after Peggy’s set where the crowd seemed to harness any remaining energy to match that of Turnstile’s forthcoming set. I can safely say they near matched the group’s energy, but Turnstile was here to throw a banger of a show and they delivered.
Coming off their incredible GLOW ON album, Turnstile made sure to play the majority of those hard hitting and catchy tracks. “Now it’s a holiday,” the opening lyrics of “HOLIDAY” rang out with all the fury you could expect from lead singer Brendan Yates, staring off the set just right. Within moments of that first chant, crowd surfers were scattered throughout the crowd, getting sent straight to the front of the crowd en masse.
Turnstile played pretty nonstop, keeping that energy going for the entirety of their set and the crowd was there for it. The tour and motto of the band is Love Connection and you could definitely feel that relationship with the band and the crowd. As the moshes surged and the night was coming to an end, Turnstile left the crowd just a little more connected, closing their set with rapid fire “T.L.C. (Turnstile Love Connection).” “I want to thank you for letting me c myself,
I want to thank you for letting me b myself” rang out and that Sly Stone interpolation/reference couldn’t have been more apt this evening. No matter the act, genre, or person, everyone was just being their genuine selves as they enjoyed one hell of a show.
All photos by Julian Ramirez.
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