Turnstile, JPEGMAFIA, and Snail Mail turn up the Uptown Theater


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

Tuesday’s Turnstile, JPEGMAFIA, and Snail Mail lineup at The Uptown was an anticipated one, featuring not one, but two lines of equal length; one to get in—one for band merch. The venue had an open ground area near the stage for people to pack themselves close. And though there was comfortable seating near the back, only few waivered to crunch in near the front as Snail Mail took the stage.

Lead singer Lindsey Erin Jordan joined her motley crew of bandmates, luring the audience closer to the stage with a stunning array of talent shared between the drummer, guitarist, bassist and vocalist, all sharing space in which to show off the mastery of their art. Jordan herself switched in and out of guitars providing additional licks to the overall sound to compliment her Siren-call vocals.

Jordan additionally warmed up the stage in idiosyncratic fashion, announcing how they were down a keyboardist and were improvising (but in no way detracting from the overall effect of their performance) as well as spontaneously shouting “Baltimore! Ravens! … and Orioles too!” in between sets.


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

Snail Mail had finished with their album’s namesake “Valentine” and left with the audience’s heart, drawing them closer to the stage, right into the jaws of the next performer.

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

A certified weeb himself, JPEGMAFIA’s music is influenced by anime opening soundtracks like Cowboy Bebop. Though the sound itself is nothing compared to the melodies in the shows, the energy is certainly one that inspires the listener in rogue fashion.

Some had claimed to come for JPEGMAFIA alone, his stage performance and energy enough to satisfy adrenaline junkies for one night, but the crowd only grew larger in anticipation of Turnstile.

A purple backlight struck the upcoming band’s banner as it rose into the catwalk. Turnstile’s entrance alone was magnetic, walking out with their backs to the crowd, outlining themselves as the audience grew louder. The music crescendoed with bass drum filling into a pop, erupting the show into flight.

The lead singer Brenden Yates orchestrated the whole of the performance with fists and kicks, jumping aerial for nearly half the show; that goes for the audience as well, with feet to be seen dangling up mid-crowd surf more so than you could see heads in the front row.

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

The venue began to heat up, with sweaters now thrown into the mix of flying beer cans and mosh-pit heads. Even Yates took off his shirt, looking Achilles bronzed, eliciting a wicked command over the audience.

Another exciting moment during the performance was another break from the heckled vocals. Yates climbed onto the balcony to produce an endearing opening to “UNDERWATER BOI” as though he’d just climbed wall Capulet to sing to his audience.

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A mosh-pit spiral had the crowd in a flurry as drummer Daniel Fang lead the band into the next song with a heart-palpitating drum solo. 

Before the final song of the night, “T.L.C.,” Yates addressed the crowd: “We got one more song, then we’re gone. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being you. Let’s shit this place up one more time.”

As the band hit the beat of the next song, canons spewed confetti into the crowd in such copious amounts that the stage and air formed into the shape of static tv.

With such an eccentric line-up and array of vibes that eased the audience in like an oncoming storm, we can only hope to see a team-up as powerful as this one within the coming years.

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Categories: Music