January 8th, 2022
Turnstile made their Tiny Desk (At-Home) debut on Wednesday. The Baltimore Hardcore outfit churned through half of their critically acclaimed album ‘Glow On’. 1 The performance consisted of reimagined versions of their euphoria-infused update to Hardcore. Juxtaposed perfectly amid a great wall of stuffed animals.
Turnstile bends but sacrifices nothing to the format. Using this opportunity to showcase their softer side with distortion on. Notably, Frontman Brendan Yates and lead-guitarist Brady Ebert are seated for the entire performance. Contrast that to their record release show featured on Sunny Singh’s Hate5Six Youtube Channel (Who also receives credit for capturing this performance). 2 It’s a delight to recontextualize a band that shines so bright in live concert environment.
Perhaps the most captivating moment was a new rendition of the hit single “Mystery”. Performed with minimal accompaniment Yates takes the spotlight on the Rhodes piano and sinks the Intimidating opening lines deeper “there’s a gun to my head, are you gonna get it right?” A pressure filled statement from the opening track of their 2021 record. The band was probably wondering at the start of 2021 what was to become of ‘Glow On’.
After a solid year of touring, fans have had the opportunity to see these songs how they were meant to be experienced, live. Now, In the security of the ‘at-home’ setting the band circumvents the rogue stage diving fan. Tracks like “Underwater Boi” and “Don’t Play” are allowed subtle enhancements while remaining energetic. Yates can add a shaker part or belt harmoniously while safely seated behind the piano without having to play to a rowdy crowd. It’s a chance for us at our respective homes to breathe and listen to the music in a new way.
In the last year a Hardcore band from Baltimore has crossed over to the mainstream from arguably the most insular scene in music. This is a special moment in music, but this is a bigger moment for Hardcore. Turnstile has earned critical success in major publications, introduced themselves to the nation on late night television and embarked on a genre defying tour with Slowthai, Suicideboys and Chief Keef all in the last year. To say this band is ambitious would be putting it lightly. Looking forward to what the new year holds, I’d say that the Tiny Desk is a good start.
Footnotes ¹ 'Glow On' in full transparency was one of my favorite records of the year. Only surpassed by the engrossing epic of Manchester Orchestra's 'The Million Masks of God'. 2 And if anyone deserves credit where credit is due it is Sunny. An absolute icon of the scene. Read this profile on him. For Turnstile to bring Sunny along to film this set is a testament to their commitment to the community that emerged from.