Turnstile

support Nyt Liv
author AP date 11/08/19 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

One of the beautiful things about punk gigs is that you know they’re not going to keep you awake until the early hours on a Sunday evening. This, and obviously the fact that Turnstile have lots of hype around them right now, mean that the downstairs room at Pumpehuset is very near its maximum capacity tonight, and for once, the blues of a looming work week is nowhere to be seen amongst the guys and gals and others in attendance. Glancing around the room, it is however obvious that especially in the wake of their latest album, 2018’s “Time & Space”, Turnstile have gathered quite a mixed following of punks and indie kids alike, all united in thrall of the band’s oddball style of hardcore punk and notoriously wild live performances.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest


Nyt Liv

Nyt Liv conjure darker atmospheres than the headliner, but even so, it is hard to imagine a better local opening act for Turnstile than this Copenhagen-based four-piece. The band’s stock has been on the rise ever since issuing their début album “Ensomhedens kolde kald” this past Spring, though I must admit that their live performances are yet to capture me in the same way as their take on metallic hardcore punk. Until tonight, that is. On the previous occasions I have seen the quartet live, they have had to make do with poor turnouts and pacific crowds, and while the people amassed in from the stage here still seem to prefer to just absorb the music instead of forming moshpits or otherwise reciprocating the energy of Nyt Liv’s showmanship. Vocalist Michael Aagesen is his usual restless self, pacing back and forth and dropping to his knees during the most emotive segments, like the chorus in the standout “Blodet skygger” or the vitriolic rallying calls in the opening track “Kniven”. And in a drastic improvement from past gigs, guitarist Martin Goltermann & bassist Søren Hvidt are part of the action too now, spinning around, brandishing their instruments and miming Aagesen’s screams in a bid to get the audience onboard.

Indeed, even though they do not succeed in garnering the sort of response they deserve, it is hard to blame the four musicians (completed by drummer Simon Erlendsson) for a lack of effort this time around, as they finally seem to have unlocked the secret to translating the intensity and urgency of songs like “Det skal du nok blive” and the older “Løgne” (off their 2017 EP “Livet brænder”) into a riveting performance. Although I am one of only a few, my fist thus remains in the air for the duration of the set, and my lungs are depleted of air by the time “Fortidens tæsk” and the title track to the aforementioned “Livet brænder” EP bring the proceedings to a conclusion. It is difficult to deny that Nyt Liv are now on the fast lane to becoming Danish hardcore punk royalty alongside the likes of Halshug, and it seems like they have not even reached their full potential yet.

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Turnstile

OK — so it seems like the audience was merely saving its energy for the headliner. As soon as the first notes of Turnstile’s opening track “Generator” have dropped, vocalist Brendan Yates dives into the crowd and personally ensures that a moshpit is initiated at once — and no one is protesting. The pit remains operational for the entire duration of this shortish 40-minute concert, morphing into myriad forms depending on the style and tone of the song being aired at that moment. It could hardly be more violent as “Drop” (off the group’s 2016 album “Nonstop Feeling”) is played, but when the rhythm turns bouncy and the mood more festive in “Fazed Out”, people are instantly off their feet for something that resembles a swaggering dance rather than a mosh. It is easy to understand why Turnstile have no trouble egging on their audience, as compared to the dark and introspective style of Nyt Liv’s music, these tracks are designed to be direct and, above all, fun to experience in the live setting. Indeed, none of the five musicians on stage seem to be taking themselves very seriously; they are donning wide grins and making more spinkicks and split jumps than I can keep track of.

It is not often that bands can come to Denmark and be taken aback by the reaction of their audience — and certainly not on a Sunday. But it seems like Yates & his cohorts comprising bassist & backing vocalist Franz Lyons, guitarists Brady Ebert & Pat McCrory, and drummer Daniel Fang are genuinely surprised by the mayhem that erupts during tracks like “7” and “Keep It Moving” (both off 2013’s “Step to Rhythm”) and fuelled by it to deliver a concert so full of energy that at times, it makes their previous appearance here (at Copenhell 2018) seem like child’s play. Of course, bands like Turnstile thrive in intimate venues such as this, where there is no barrier to separate them from their ravenous fans. Yates takes full advantage of the situation, often throwing himself into the pit when Lyons assumes lead vocal duty and extending a warm welcome to anyone wanting to stage dive. This is a punk show in the truest sense of the word — one which, in spite of its short length, leaves the audience dripping with sweat and agonising about how long it will be before the next opportunity to watch Turnstile live in Denmark will arise.

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Setlist:

  • 01. Generator
  • 02. Drop
  • 03. Real Thing
  • 04. Big Smile
  • 05. Fazed Out
  • 06. Blue by You
  • 07. 7
  • 08. Keep It Moving
  • 09. I Don’t Wanna Be Blind
  • 10. Canned Heat
  • 11. Moon
  • 12. Gravity

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