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Six ways Turnstile’s London Roundhouse show proved they’re hardcore's most essential young band

Turnstile shook the London Roundhouse to its foundations last night - here's what we learned

Brendan Yates from Turnstile at the London Roundhouse
(Image: © Burak Cingi/Redferns, Getty)

Last night, Baltimore's innovative hardcore crew Turnstile landed at Camden's historic Roundhouse for the first of two sold-out London shows during their ongoing UK tour. With many US rock and metal bands being forced to continue cancelling and postponing dates in the face of pandemic uncertainty, the fact Turnstile actually made it across the pond already felt like a minor miracle - and, unsurprisingly, they were in no mood to waste the opportunity. Here's what we learned during an explosive, cathartic and fun-as-hell hour-long set...

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People are pumped for this band

Every show we actually get in the UK feels like a victory these days, but with last year's awesome, genre-hopping Glow On album ripping its way through countless music media end-of-year-lists - including Metal Hammer's own 50 best metal albums of 2021 - excitement for Turnstile to touch down on these shores was at fever pitch in the days leading up to the tour. 

It feels electric around the Roundhouse tonight, and whether it's the very solid reception afforded to support band, sprightly UK punks Chubby And The Gang, or people dancing around to Whitney Houston on the PA before the headliners turn up, everyone is just ready for this. Make no mistake about it: this is a party, and Turnstile are the house band making an honorary homecoming. 

No one in hardcore makes people move quite like Turnstile

As the PA cuts (sorry Whitney) and the stage is bathed in dark blue light, the band - frontman Brendan Yates, guitarists Brady Ebert and Pat McCroy, bassist Franz Lyons and drummer Daniel Fang - strut out onstage, sliding into Glow On interludal number No Surprise before kicking full-throttle into a riotous Mystery. What happens next feels less like the start of a gig and more like the collective release of two years' worth of pandemic-induced inhibitions. 

The Roundhouse duly lets go of any lingering shit it was still half-arsedly trying not to lose and it is instant pandemonium. Limbs are everywhere, bodies are moving in every possible direction, pits are breaking out already and the kind of shapes usually reserved for 11pm on a wedding dance floor are being busted out everywhere you look. There's something about Turnstile's unique blend of hardcore fury, hip-shaking beats and heart-searing melodies that just makes people want to move. And move they fucking do.

The reaction to the newer material proves that they're getting better and better

That by far the biggest cheer of the first few songs gets thrown out for Glow On banger Blackout shows how much people have been dying to see Turnstile's newer material live. Humming along to its irresistibly shiny melodies and barking out Brendan's 'And let the spotlight shine on me!' so loudly he's practically drowned out, the track manages to somehow kick the night up a gear. 

The song is followed by three more Glow On numbers, and whether it's the shimmering sway of Underwater Boi, the playfully funky percussion of Don't Play or anthemic urgency of Endless, they're all greeted like old friends by fans who have clearly spent a lot of time with the record since its release five months ago. And who could blame them?

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Moon is packing one of the single biggest choruses punk has produced this decade

...alright, so it's far from being just about the new stuff tonight. Just over half of Turnstile's 22-song set comprises of older material, and while everything from the Time & Space-era jams to the sprinkling of early-days Step 2 Rhythm tracks are all gleefully lapped up (can this band even make dud tracks?!), it's hard to look past Time & Space anthem Moon as being the definitive song of Turnstile's career so far. After all, we did give it the gold medal in our Top 10 Turnstile Songs feature.

Punk, hardcore, rock...whatever you want to call them, there are few artists anywhere producing choruses as aggressively earwormy as they have with this modern classic. It provokes the loudest singalong of the night in an hour full of them. Altogether now...'Now there's noooothing IIIII can dooooooo....'

Brendan Yates remains one of the scene's most magnetic personalities

Standing out in a collective full of big personalities isn't easy, but when you look like you could have just been flung over the top rope of this past weekend's WWE Royal Rumble match, and move like a young Anthony Kiedis who's just found himself onstage at a Prodigy gig, maybe it's that little bit easier. Even with all the chaos around him and in front of him, it's impossible to take your eyes off Brendan as he leaps, dances, spins and strikes all manner of poses within the mayhem. 

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Turnstile don't know the meaning of outstaying their welcome

With Glow On serving as Turnstile's longest ever album at an eye-watering, brain-sapping, bone-grinding length of, er, 35 minutes, it's fair to say that Turnstile know what it means to turn up, get your shit in and bolt before outstaying your welcome. Tonight is no different: they manage to cram 22 songs into less than an hour, and while it makes for a relatively breezy experience, it means the energy of the band and the crowd in front of them is at full pelt from the opening seconds of Mystery to the closing moments of T.L.C. 

It's the most perfect possible track to end on, too - all one minute and 42 seconds of it. Short, sharp, sweet and yet cramming in more energy and ideas than countless bands manage in an entire career? Turnstile summed up, then. Oh, and T.L.C. stands for Turnstile Love Connection. You only need take a cursory glance at the delirious, sweaty faces making their way out of the Roundhouse soon after to understand exactly what that means.

Merlin stepped into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.