A week after passport issues forced a last-minute delay to hardcore crossover Turnstile’s anticipated pre-festival warm-up, they launch into ‘MYSTERY’ in front of a perhaps unexpectedly packed-out crowd, seemingly nobody put off by the sudden change of plans. Whether fans accepted their fate and waited it out across the seven days or whether others were ready to snap up the tickets released by those unable to reschedule, it’s testament to the band’s ever-expanding cult following. Fronted by the enigmatic Brendan Yates, the Baltimore troupe are one of only a few in the genre’s history to swap sweaty underground clubs for mainstream festival stages, appearing just at home at a floor show as on the main billing at Primavera or Coachella.
It’s a feat arguably spearheaded by their most recent album, ‘GLOW ON’, having teamed up with Blood Orange and recently dropping reworkings of select tracks with Canadian instrumentalists BADBADNOTGOOD. But it’s one that the five-piece have long been fostering, pairing their hardcore ferocity with a range of influences outside of their direct surroundings. 2016’s ‘Nonstop Feeling’ touched on the heavier side of rap, a thread that follows through to the jarringly uplifting set closer, ‘T.L.C.’ (complete with confetti canon). On stage it translates rapidly into a flurry of energy, breaking up the balls-to-the-wall aggression, not least with the prominent Blood Orange feature on ‘ALIEN LOVE CALL’.
Brendan Yates joins his bandmates in throwing himself around the stage, even founding drummer Daniel Fang basking in his moment in the sun for a particularly rousing drum solo. And despite the breakthrough accolade of ‘GLOW ON’, the crowd are split equally across the band’s full repertoire, returning the energy in-kind across every one of the band’s nineteen strong setlist. That fans have followed Turnstile so closely during the past ten plus years comes as no surprise, with the band both on record and on stage playing stronger than ever. Hardcore has always celebrated the underdog, and Turnstile have relentlessly paved their own way to their own blend of mainstream success. Tonight, in Manchester, it’s clear that they haven’t lost any of their brilliance en route.