Basement. Turnstile. // Chicago, Illinois – 04.19.16
BASEMENT last played Chicago in August 2014 with SUPERHEAVEN. I recall being VERY bummed out because I didn’t get tickets before the double-header shows sold out. I just wanted to see SUPERHEAVEN again! Little did I know that BASEMENT was/is actually, “kind of a big deal,” causing the sell out.
I’ve listened to BASEMENT quite a bit since then. Confession time: I don’t actually own any of their records or listen to them independently. I got into them from my Daylight (SUPERHEAVEN) station on Pandora. Yeah, that’s some real adult shit right there. I get into new music from Pandora. I don’t know… it’s weird. So yeah, whenever I listen to them, it’s on Pandora. And oh my goodness… I love them. Not in a mark way, but in a, “They make me want to cry and simultaneously punch things,” kind of way. I know some of you get it.
I almost missed my chance at tickets this time around too. The show initially sold out pretty quickly so when a second wave of tickets released, I pounced on them with ferocity!
Fast forward to the day of the show when I kind of forgot I even had a ticket. Thank Krishna for the Facebook event reminder that popped up while I was at work (not working, obviously).
I arrived at the venue late because dinner was a priority, found a sick free and legal parking spot right across the street, and got into the venue just in time to catch the last three DEFEATER songs. I stood in the very back during the remainder of their set and on account of being a shorty, couldn’t really see much or get a feel for what was going on in the room. The end portion of their set wasn’t on par with what I’ve seen from them in the past but it was still decent to have caught at least some of it.
Now, as someone who had only heard TURNSTILE a handful of times, I was pretty indifferent about them. I texted my buddy Joe Rieman a couple hours before the show so when he came back with this…
…I knew I had to at least pay some attention to their set since he backed them. I moved from the back of the room to pretty much the front to catch them. I’m short and I like to be able to see. It was then I noticed D. Fang (core tour warrior) was on drums with a ONE PUNCH MAN stuffed toy on the kit; I figured I was in for something good.
During their quick sound check, the bass player Franz had an exchange that went something like this…
Franz to sound person: That’s perfect, thank you.
(someone shouted at him)
Franz stepped over to the other mic to check it and said into the mic: Whoever said I was perfect, thank you. I think you’re perfect.
I don’t know… maybe I’m just at an age where younger dudes not being shitbags and actually being sweet is like the most charming thing in the world to me. Anyway, it was truly a lovely moment and it made my heart all gooey and soft for them already.
Then TURNSTILE started their set and all I can say is HOLY SHIT! Kids lost their goddamned minds! Seriously – I had no idea what was happening but it was awesome! The whole place seemed to be moving and I just went with it. Kids were singing along to all of it, continued to lose their minds. Girls were fucking going for it and I was REALLY siked to be a female surrounded by a bunch of young, badass girls that were just having a rad time to this band that they loved! For me, it had that positive vibe reminiscent of 90’s H2O shows. I would bet that there were more stage dives by girls than there were by boys. A couple of girls even got on the mic on stage and sang a good portion of two different songs. That was cool. Honestly, I was just so amped by all the girl diversity! Girls with dreads, colored hair, shaved heads, African American, Asian, Latina… girls without makeup, tomboys! It was refreshing to see so many different types of girls just partying real hard!
TURNSTILE’s set was very tight. Their sound was kind of all over the place for me and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was sort of Cro-Mags-ish, Rage Against the Machine-ish, and H2O/ska influenced-ish…? I seriously have no idea what their songs are about but they just seemed to be very sincere, passionate, and overall truly delightful! I didn’t even care that my J’s were getting completely thrashed. Their set was that fun!
BASEMENT was next/last. Their set was EXQUISITE! BASEMENT was/is fucking great! Everyone was moving and jiving and seemingly not giving a crap about what was going on around them; lots of people getting hella loose. Again, mad numbers of girls totally going for it and singing along to this rad band they love – such a cool sight to see! I had a stupid ear-to-ear smile on my face throughout their whole set. J’s were getting progressively thrashed but I didn’t care. I felt really alive.
I wasn’t expecting to know very many of their songs on account of the not owning their records thing, but was pleasantly surprised to be 100% wrong in that assessment. They played a wild set full of maybe mostly new and some old songs. Truthfully though, I have no idea because I have no context for which songs are on which record, etc. My apologies for not being more of a discogs nerd. I just know what I like and “don’t subscribe to labels” (the second part is a lie).
After the show, I immediately called my friend Jerry and basically yelled in the phone about how amped I was on the whole experience/both sets that I caught. He’s a good sport about my excitable outbursts. Then I called my younger brother, Michael. He was able to see them the previous night on his birthday up in Minnesota at The Garage. Lucky! As if I hadn’t gushed about the show enough already to those two goofballs, I called my oldest brother, Sean, to bug him about it too. He wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about TURNSTILE as I was but he loved BASEMENT’s set. My brothers hooked BASEMENT up some craft beers and growlers from Town Hall Brewery. BASEMENT hooked my brother up with some birthday swag, which makes me like them even more because nice people being nice is really nice!
If you haven’t yet, I fully recommend at the very least giving BASEMENT a listen. If you can, go check them and TURNSTILE out on one of their remaining shows on this tour. I promise you won’t wish you’d just stayed home and watched Netflix instead.
by Caitlin Lipinski (@caitxedge)