Friday, June 14th, 2019 marked the end of an era. While the era was on the shorter side – just over four years – it was deeply meaningful and changed Chicago for the better. It was on this night that Turnspit would be playing their final show.
The evening, chock full of friends and local heavy hitters, started off with Still Alive. I was uncharacteristically late but was able to catch the last three songs of the band’s set. If you haven’t been keeping up with our Chicago show reviews, you may not be aware of how much Mat and I have recently gushed about falling in love with this band which takes the perfect amounts of Punk, Hardcore, and Reggae and throws them into a musical blender for a great outcome. And it only got better from there.
Next up was Steveo & the Crippling Addictions all the way from Philadelphia. I had missed the band the last time they had come through the Midwest, we so being able to catch them and enjoy their whole set was a real treat. Then Blood People took the stage as a three piece. They were down one member, their drummer Mickey, due to some health complications. But their second guitarist Jeff took over drum duty and the band unrelentingly slayed. [Editor’s Note: Mickey is alive and well and doing okay!]
As the upbeat folkiness of Blind Staggers echoed throughout the Beat Kitchen, I began to put it all together. The eclectic sounds of the opening bands of the night were all a little bit Turnspit. And, in their own way, Turnspit was a little bit of each of them. These were not only bands that Turnspit had played alongside during their four and a half year run, they were friends, musical allies, and co-inspirational musicians.
Of course the band of the evening, Turnspit, took the stage to an eruption of applause. It was only then that I realized that the room was packed as far back as I could see. The band tore into “Irish Name” which turned into one huge singalong, more crowd than band. The four piece played through a large chunk of their discography, speaking between songs about what their time together as a band has meant to them and how their experiences shaped each of them for the better. They also spoke to past lineup changes and gave a shout out to previous drummer Dan Tinkler who was probably at the Metro somewhere “doing adult careers things.”
The audience was filled with the smiling faces of friends and family from near and far, many of whom I had seen at previous shows. It was one of those inspiring moments were I again realize how much of an impact a local band or a local scene really does make in people’s lives. Just as I thought I had my emotions in check, Gillian invited onstage anyone who has dealt with abuse as she played through a very emotional acoustic version of “Skin.” Before the night officially ended, the band acquiesced to the crowd’s chanting and came back for one final and epic encore. And that was it. It was over. Turnspit was over.
While everyone seemed to be in good spirits, I was still left with an empty feeling. 2019 has already been filled with death for so many in this scene. And placing Turnspit into the “RIP” category alongside so many other Midwestern greats like Wide Angles or Wringer, pains me. But I’m well aware that these amazing musicians will continue on through their solo projects and eventually other projects which I’m bound to love (or already do).