It’s my second night in New York City, and I find myself at the Mercury Lounge on the Lower East Side; a venue with brick walls, neon lights and cocktails served in white plastic cups, and one with seemingly little care for whether we’ve actually bought tickets or not. It’s not a large venue – smaller than the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, perhaps the same size as Manchester’s Sound Control, and not dissimilar in appearance to the now-deceased Duchess in York.
Tonight, Turnover are headlining, a Virginian band whose genre I’ve seen described as ranging from emo and pop-punk to dream pop and indie rock. In all honesty, I’m mainly here for the friend I’ve travelled to New York with; I appreciate their music, I know a few songs and I’m more than happy to see them, but it’s her that’s the real fan.
First up, however, is the Ohio-based Secret Space. Throughout their set, the influence of artists such as Brand New and Kevin Devine is clear, especially during ‘Cast Iron’ from their recent debut The Window Room. This song is one of the highlights of their set – midway through, my friend even describes it as “literally like a Brand New song”. It’s clear that they’re grateful to be included on this tour, with many declarations of thanks and a description of Turnover as “the nicest dudes I’ve literally ever met”.
Following this, Sports take to the stage – a band with a name possibly reminiscent of Modern Baseball and American Football. What immediately strikes me is that Sports are half female, a refreshing change in a genre often dominated by all-male bands. The (often) female vocals give them a sound evocative of other female-fronted bands such as Tigers Jaw and Bruising. They open with ‘Stunted’ from their debut (and only) album All of Something, a song that begins slowly and quietly, then builds into something much louder and fun. I’m immediately a fan of them after the first song, and the rest of their set is exciting and full of energy; a juxtaposition against their shy demeanour when addressing each other and the crowd.
Shortly after, Turnover walk onstage and open with ‘Cutting My Fingers Off’, arguably one of their most famous tracks. Their entire set consists of songs from their sophomore album Peripheral Vision, and none from their debut Magnolia. The only exceptions to this are ‘Humblest Pleasures’, their new single, and ‘Change Irreversible’, the B-side to the aforementioned. It’s music that you can sway to even if you don’t know the song; it’s dreamy, and it’s hypnotic.
When the set finishes, the inevitable screams of ‘ONE MORE SONG’ (a little different to the ‘YORKSHIRE, YORKSHIRE’ chant so common at shows in Leeds or York) fill the room. Turnover return and fulfil this wish, so when the crowd do leave, they leave satisfied and smiling. This, combined with the palpable fervour that filled the venue when tracks such as ‘New Scream’, ‘Dizzy On the Comedown’ and ‘Take My Head’ commenced, means that the show was undoubtedly a successful one for Turnover. It’s also a successful evening on a personal note – I find myself leaving the Mercury Lounge a greater fan of Turnover than when I went in.By Lucy McLaughlin