Turnstile, JPEGMAFIA and Snail Mail set up the Uptown Theater

Turnstile drives up the crowd at the Uptown Theater // Photo by Drew Windish

Tuesday’s lineup of Turnstile, JPEGMAFIA and Snail Mail at The Uptown was an expected lineup, with not one, but two lines of equal length; one to enter – one for band merchandise. The venue had an open area near the stage where people could pack up close. And while there were comfy seats in the back, few gave up on crunching in the front as Snail Mail took the stage.

Singer Lindsey Erin Jordan joined her motley crew of bandmates and lured the crowd closer to the stage with a stunning array of talent shared by the drummer, guitarist, bassist and vocalist, all sharing the space to show off the mastery of their art. Jordan turned the guitars on and off herself, adding extra licks to the overall sound to complement her Siren call vocals.

Jordan additionally warmed up the stage in a quirky way by announcing that they were a keyboardist and improvising (but in no way detracting from the overall effect of their performance) and spontaneously “Baltimore! raven!…and Orioles too.” !” between sets.


Snail Mail debuts their new album Valentine // Photo courtesy of Tina Tyrell

Finished with their album’s namesake “Valentine,” Snail Mail left with the crowd’s heart, bringing them closer to the stage, right into the next performer’s jaws.

An unlikely hero, JPEGMAFIA took on the role of warming up the audience and instead baked them to perfection. The thumping audio/visuals mixed with screaming autotune was just the right combination to rock the crowd. He took the stage in a loose-fitting red and black striped sweater, Freddy Kruger-esque. The rapper/DJ presented himself loud and present; with an eerie backlight outlining the horns on his hat, JPEGMAFIA presented himself as a devil asking Jesus for forgiveness in his song “Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot.”

A certified weeb herself, JPEGMAFIA’s music is influenced by anime opening soundtracks such as Cowboy Bebop. While the sound itself is nothing compared to the melodies in the shows, the energy is certainly one that inspires the listener in a villainous way.

Some claimed to come only for JPEGMAFIA, his performance and energy were enough to satisfy adrenaline junkies for one evening, but the crowd only got bigger in anticipation of Turnstile.

A purple backlight struck the banner of the up-and-coming band as it rode up the catwalk. Turnstile’s entrance alone was magnetic, they walked out with their backs to the crowd, sketching themselves as the crowd grew louder. The music crescendo with bass drum filling into a pop, causing the show to explode into flight.

Singer Brenden Yates orchestrated the entire performance with fists and kicks, jumping in the air for nearly half the show; so does the audience, with feet dangling in the middle of the crowd, more than your heads could see in the front row.

A highlight of the concert was certainly during the mid-performance when the heavy grunge of the music came to a halt, with a lone strong yellow backlight outlining the lead guitarist as he played an ethereal riff. A scene subtle, yet roaring like the rising sun.

The room was starting to heat up, with sweaters now thrown into the mix of flying beer cans and mosh pit heads. Even Yates took off his shirt and looked bronzed like Achilles, provoking a vicious command over the crowd.

Another tense moment during the performance was another interruption of the disturbed vocals. Yates climbed onto the balcony to make an endearing opening for “UNDERWATER BOI” as if he had just climbed Capulet’s wall to sing to his audience.

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A moshpit spiral sent the crowd into an uproar as drummer Daniel Fang led the band to the next track with a heartbreaking drum solo.

For the last song of the evening, ‘TLC’, Yates addressed the audience: ‘We’ve got one more song and then we’re gone. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for being yourself. Let’s ruin this place one more time.”

As the band beat to the beat of the next song, cannons spewed confetti into the crowd so large that the stage and sky took the shape of static TV.

With such an eccentric lineup and an array of vibes that had the crowd pouring in like an oncoming storm, we can only hope to see a team-up as powerful as this one in the years to come.

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