Turnstile at Uptown Theater: A Review


photo by Stefan Bollmann

The band “Turnstile” performs at a concert. Turnstile was formed in 2010.

The band Turnstile performed Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022 at Uptown Theater in Kansas City.

“Have you been in a mosh pit before?” I asked my girlfriend moments before realizing I really hadn’t either.

After Snail Mail and JPEG MAFIA performed, the crowd almost doubled, and I found myself smashed against the barrier and other strangers.

I have always loved music. It is an integral part of who I am, and who I will forever be. From listening to Nirvana and Korn in the car seat of my dad’s F-150, to Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake playing while my mother ran on the treadmill, music has always been around me. But I have always gravitated towards rock music the most.

So because I have gotten into Turnstile following their blowup to the masses, I was excited to see them play. For me, it was similar to the sort of feeling you would get on Christmas morning as a child. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I had been to many concerts in my life, but none were quite like Turnstile.

I have never been involved in a crowd in which you jump and find yourself suspended mid-air because you’re packed so close to the people around you. I have never felt as though I could pass out from a lack of oxygen, yet still sing and dance as hard as I can. Turnstile evoked some sort of emotion out of everyone that night, and it was electric.

Turnstile is a hardcore band from Baltimore, Maryland. Their 2021 album, “Glow On,” has catapulted them into a frenzy of endless touring and massive crowds. I recently saw them last spring in Lawrence, and although packed, it was nothing compared to the energy at the Uptown Theater.

They began their set with some of their bigger hits, a mix of their top tracks and fan favorites. By the time they played their second song, “Real Thing,” I began to get this “on no” feeling. Would I be able to make it through the entire set without passing out? The air was so hot and dense with smoke, sweat and body heat. Combined with being trapped within the pit from all angles, I felt as though I couldn’t escape. That’s when they began to play another Turnstile camp classic and one of my favorites, “Big Smile.” Right then and there, some switch flipped within me. I forgot the feeling of claustrophobia and nervousness, and it did not return for the remainder of the show.

The moment that really separated this concert experience from others that I have been to was when they played their current biggest hit, “Underwater Boi.” They performed a mostly a cappella version of the song – and by ‘they,’ I mean the crowd. You couldn’t hear Brendon Yates, Turnstile’s lead vocalist, sing the song because we were singing it louder.

That was the most beautiful moment of the night. I was almost moved to tears. This was the first time that I have really connected to a band of this caliber from my generation, and I truly felt like I was part of some sort of cultural movement.

Of course, that pondering thought was short lived as I was soon kicked in the head by one of many crowd surfers when the band began their next song. Then I was back into it, jumping and screaming, being a part of the poetic chaos that was the show.

Turnstile played 17 songs that night, and all of them were better than the last. There was a love and comradery between the crowd and the band. People from all walks of life got together to enjoy this one moment where they could be free from everything else in life. It was just one moment, when everyone came together and was no longer alone but part of something bigger. That is what Turnstile is all about. That is what music is all about.

Edited by Glorianna Noland and Aja Carter