Turnstile returned to California to close out the final dates of their fall tour promoting the release of their new 7-inch entitled “Move Thru Me“. Turnstile played 4 sold-out dates throughout California, playing in Santa Ana, Chula Vista, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Personally, I was very fortunate to have another opportunity to photograph and watch Turnstile play at the Oakland Metro. The Oakland lineup included Profile, Lock, Big Bite, a secret Culture Abuse set, Angel Du$t, and Turnstile. Turnstile’s setlist included a strong variety of songs ranging from stuff off their first EP to the recent stuff, satisfying both old and new listeners alike.
Turnstile last played the Oakland Metro at its previous location on 3rd-Street back in the winter of 2015 on their California tour, celebrating the release of their debut LP, Nonstop Feeling. This show was the first large hardcore show that I’d had been to. And I can honestly say that out of any show that I’d previously been to, this one had the most profound impact on me. It was at this show that my previous understanding of how music can function as both a physical and emotional release was entirely revolutionized. It was an explosive release of raw emotion, a discharge of anger, sadness, and uncertainty in a livid, dynamic fashion, truly unlike any live performance I’d ever seen before.
The stage, void of barriers and security guards, functioned as a medium by which the connection between both the artists and the audience could exist in an entirely fluid and transparent way. I found myself captivated by the simplicity and primitiveness of the scene–through motion and through voice, human emotion was released in an incredibly unfiltered, uncensored, and unaltered form. In this state, I felt a strange relation and connection to a room full of individuals which had never been familiar with before. Much unlike the culture we live in that divides us in literally every imaginable way, through that microphone, through that stage, through that release of emotion, in that moment, we were all the same. We were all just individuals striving for solace amidst the chaos, we were all just human beings not just listening, but also interacting through music. And in that moment, I felt entirely absent of any worry of the world that existed outside of that hot, sweaty room in which I stood. From my first time seeing Turnstile live, there has seldom been another band that I’ve seen evoke such an insane amount of energy out of a room of people. There has seldom been another band for which I have seen entirely sober individuals partake in such an eclectic display of stage gymnastics and lively motion. And there has seldom been another band that has given me quite that same feeling. It is through that primitiveness, and that chaos, which in some strange way I manage to find momentary peace with the world around me.
As Turnstile took the stage in Washington D.C. at their record release date of the Move Thru Me tour, frontman Brendan Yates made the following statement:
“There’s a lot of different people here, lot of different walks of life kinda coming together and it’s such a beautiful thing, it’s a really cool thing. And instead of that making you feel uncomfortable, make it feel good. Embrace each other, take care of each other, respect each other, do not violate each other, do not violate women when they’re coming off the stage, don’t touch each other, support each other, and have a good time. Make right now feel good, make the night feel good, this band is called Turnstile.”
I believe that this statement encapsulates both what Turnstile stands for as individuals and what Turnstile tries to accomplish as a band through their music every time they take the stage. Music, throughout its existence, has functioned as a medium that brings together and connects individuals of all walks of life. And due to the absence of barriers that divide the audience from the performer, in combination with that raw, passionate release of emotion that hardcore brings, it truly displays how powerful music can be as a method of connection and a platform to vocalize one’s opinion. It is truly a testament to the integrity of the members of Turnstile as individuals that they use the stage as a platform to remind us that respectfulness and an acceptance of diversity is of the utmost importance. Especially in this time of political ambiguity and uncertainty for a large variety of marginalized groups and individuals, a constant reminder of this message is both extremely relevant and necessary. And after the occurrence of a political outcome that has been extremely devastating to the liberal bubbles which we inhabit in the state of California, Turnstile came just in time to remind us of this message.
As Turnstile finished one of their most lyrically aggressive tracks, “The Things You Do“, vocalist Brendan Yates said,
“I don’t trust politics. But what I do trust is the importance of trying to relate to other humans, communicating, being very open minded, respecting each other, embracing individualism and embracing diversity. And that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Being a straight, white male growing up in Southern California and attending liberal universities in Northern California, I know that I have not experienced the oppression and marginalization that so many of my peers have faced. But through hardcore, I’m able to surround myself with a diverse group of individuals so that I can learn to recognize injustice and further educate myself about actions that I can take to oppose the oppression that individuals of color, LGTBQ individuals, and women face every day outside of the bubble in which I live. As Turnstile pushes the boundaries of how we currently understand music’s function as an emotional release, they also indirectly remind us of how our emotions can be used as fuel for change. Living in California, arguably the most liberal state, it is natural to react with hatred and disdain when an occurrence poses a threat to both our ideologies and our livelihoods. Turnstile reminds us of the importance of open-mindedness and respect, and this message will always be relevant. Just because we don’t agree with someone’s beliefs, it shouldn’t deter us as human beings from striving to gain a better understanding of the ambiguity which surrounds those beliefs that differ so drastically from our own. And through logical thought and open-mindedness, we can better harness our emotions to intelligently oppose those beliefs and injustices that we disagree with.
I believe that music is truly impactful when it makes one question an understanding they hold. And personally, I hold the utmost respect for Turnstile for their ability to push the boundaries of how music can function as both a method of release and method of interpersonal connection. Turnstile is special in the way that they seamlessly create such an unlikely connection between diverse individuals through their music. It is incorrect to say that music truly makes us forget about the problems of the outside world–these issues always exist in the backs of our minds. But what I truly find special about hardcore, is that despite the problems that exist in the outside world, through this music I know that I will always find solidarity with individuals that are just as lost, scared, hopeless, confused, and dissatisfied with the world’s problems as I am. And in that connection amidst the chaos, I find peace in the fact knowing I am not alone. So as we release our emotions upon that stage, to later limp into our beds with aching backs and bruised bodies, let us wake up the next morning void of doubt that we will have to face the issues we face alone. Let us ride above the bad wave of negativity that attempts to drag us down, using logical thought fueled by our emotions to have a positive effect on the world we live in. And that positive change starts in the way that we choose to treat others.
Below is a gallery of pictures taken by myself and many extremely creative, hardworking, and talented individuals who took their time to document Turnstile on their tour through their various California dates. A very special thanks to Octavio Orduno, Tyler Ross, Hailey Magoon, Gabe Becerra, Channate Sieng, and Robert Keller for contributing their pictures for this article. I also would like to take the time to thank every individual who has supported my development as an artist over the past 9 months. And I’d also like to thank everyone who has supported these individuals alike in their pursuits to grow as creative individuals and artists. I know how much time these individuals pour into their art and it really is a testament to who they are as people. Please remember to thank and support the individuals that document the shows and bands that you attend, it truly means the world to those who pour their time and energy into their art.
Channate Sieng – Instagram
Article by Sam Jameson