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  • Writer's pictureJ Wolfe

Turnstile with Notes of Love

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

For Valentine's Day I am releasing this piece I wrote back in August of 2021 about going to a Turnstile show. It was a day I felt an abundance of love in all different directions. Today looking back on that moment I find myself, though beaten up, ready to embrace life, my relationships and my experiences as exactly what they are. Valentine's Day can be a day to celebrate what you have, in whatever way those things are showing up in your life.

The setting behind what got me to the Turnstile show on August 25, 2021 must remain a secret for legal purposes at the moment, but I did not sign an NDA so a real supporter will ask me to explain in a year. What you can know is that it was a day that was full of the sun, skipping rocks, a sod farm and exploring history that does not belong to me, and on a whim I found myself at a Turnstile show to finish it all off. It was the kind of day I spent comparing my present to my past and liking the outcome of my decisions. As the sun kissed my shoulders throughout the day I thought "life is like a box of chocolates," a phrase my mind often returns to.

I saw Turnstile in New York at Irving Plaza on August 25, 2021. It had been a long time since I had been in a crowd where my shoe came untied during the first song and the rest of the time I just felt like a body who was trying to retie their shoe in between songs. The world, at the time, was just starting to open itself up to experiences like this again, and I think that's part of what made this one so meaningful for me.

Music, at times, is all about numbers, how many people show up to shows, how much money you can make, how many streams you have, how many followers, etc etc, but it’s a business built on true experience, the type of experience that doesn’t exist in many other art forms. It’s tantric. And when you’re in a crowd of people, those numbers all add up and create the kind of environment where if you fall someone is there to catch you. The opening band, who's name I have not been able to find for some reason, stated before playing a song written for a friend that had passed away a year ago to the day, “Music is fucking important man. Music is the shit...meeting people like that (the deceased friend) and people like Turnstile and playing music makes it feel like you have a place in the world.” And it’s true. Music can make you feel like you have a place in the world, so much so that sometimes when it’s over it feels like nothing else matters or exists. When you spend an hour of your life letting someone create a vibe for you it can be hard to remember who you are afterward. It doesn’t help that Turnstile strictly releases bangers so every song made me feel like I was in the ocean with my eyes closed, but, like, in a hard way. Because of this I don't even feel the need to discuss the music. Like, we all know it was a great performance, the songs were amazing and the band sounded like they rehearsed a lot or that their talent was something they didn't have to practice. Music has a way of releasing love into the body, along with a wide spectrum of other emotions. For Valentine's Day this year "ALIEN LOVE CALL" will be my anthem, with it's absurd mix of sadness and desperate hope, the feelings love often conjure, hitting the perfect notes which strike into the depths of the heart and leave you smiling despite "can't be the only one."

When at a show like that, it's funny how the crowd always gets split into three. There are the people who come to appreciate the music standing with their arms crossed in the back, the people who come to be a part of it yet who stand near the middle with notes of imposter syndrome, and the people who come to feel it and release themselves to the experience. Where do you often find yourself? Sometimes you get so involved you end up yelling at security to fight for your right to the encounter.

Being in a crowd like that is like drugs, which I feel cringey saying but I don't know how else to describe it. You completely lose sense of time, you lose track of your trauma and your losses and your people, you become something else. When the floor clears so quickly at the end you’ll find people holding up dropped items and you’ll begin to remember your experience, like the people’s hands you grabbed who fell to the floor, or the person crowd surfing who grabbed your hand in the air, or the backflip you did into securities arms, landing yourself on the side of the stage to watch the last of the show. You’ll remember the feeling of your shoelace being caught under someone’s shoe and wondering if that will cause you problems.

The next morning, as with any impactful experience, you’ll check yourself for signs that the event actually took place. In my case, you’ll find a strange bruise that stretches from your ear lobe to your jawline. You’ll look back at it throughout the day and hope it never leaves your body. :)

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