Turnstile, Citizen, Ceremony played the Worcester Palladium – 5/21

Hardcore’s wildest tour of the year stormed through Worcester over the weekend at a very-out Palladium with Turnstile, Citizen, Ceremony, Ekulu and Truth Cult.

I made a big deal of Gulch’s recent NYC stop on their farewell tour being a milestone of intensity (and sweat) for the year, but here we are not even a month later with a night to give that one a run for its money. Those are two headliners heading in opposite directions, of course; Gulch on their way out the door, and Baltimore’s Turnstile into the stratosphere.

To say that they’ve had a big year would be a gross understatement for Turnstile, who released the instant-classic GLOW ON in August and officially became the biggest thing in punk thereafter. It was my album of the year for 2021, and I was not alone in that declaration. And while Turnstile shows have always been a wild time, their current run supporting that record to huge sold-out rooms is genuinely on another level.

To start, there’s that’s massive crew of openers. Fellow Baltimoreans Truth Cult kicking things off, NYC crossover thrash crew Ekulu stirring up the pit, Cali vets Ceremony bridging hardcore to synthpop and emo shapeshifters Citizen inspiring deafening singalongs.

I’ve written about Ceremony here before, but they remain one of my favorite live acts around. As their sound has continued to shift further and further away from their powerviolence roots, they’ve lost zero of their magnetism and become an even more interesting band for it. Ceremony have been pushing that envelope for long enough that their post-punk and goth-y synthwave tunes can get the crowd moving just as efficiently as the heavy stuff, though it’s probably still their Rohnert Park-era material that hits the hardest. Opening with the revving engine of “Sick,” which sent vocalist Ross Farrar straight off the stage and to the crowd, was an absolute power move.

Truth Cult’s nervy energy got the night off to a strong start, and Ekulu’s stomping meat-and-potatoes NYHC anchored the openers as the most traditional among them. I spent most of Citizen’s set waiting for the songs to really take off, but that’s more my problem than the band’s. They certainly drew a fervency from the by-then-absolutely-packed crowd.

And then there was Turnstile. “Hotly anticipated” really gets to the heart of waiting for the band to hit the stage, as it felt like about 110 degrees inside the Palladium by the time they did. The walls seemed to sweat. The pit opened up for the entire duration of walk-on song “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” This room was ready. And Turnstile rose to the occasion, ripping through an acrobatic, air-tight set touching on most of GLOW ON and a smattering of other essentials in just under an hour of fluorescent pink fury. Frontman Brendan Yates was almost constantly airborne and commanded the room effortlessly, met with the rapturous response of 2,000 of his biggest fans. Turnstile feel like the band who could take over the world right now, and deservingly so.

Check out a huge gallery from all five bands below.