Photos by Hana Tobias
Last Thursday, flipturn played a spirited set at the House of Blues Voodoo Room. It was the band’s second time performing in San Diego, although the sold-out crowd they drew was much larger this time around, according to frontman Dillon Basse. Brooklyn-based Juice opened the concert with an excellent set featuring frontman Ben Stevens’ powerful vocals and Christian Rose’s impressive violin skills.
Originally from Florida, flipturn was incepted in bassist Madeline Jarman’s garage; they soon expanded from a trio to a quintet and began playing larger venues. They recently released their debut album, Shadowglow, and are taking it on a national tour. 11 stops into their run, flipturn showed no signs of fatigue.
The band entered the dark stage quietly, but as soon as the first note hit our ears, they were full of energy that sustained for the next hour and a half. The quintet’s enthusiasm overflowed from the admittedly small stage of the Voodoo Room, infecting all who listened. Tristan Duncan (lead guitar), Mitch Fountain (synth), and Devon VonBalson (drums) rounded out the quintet, with each performer easily holding their own. Fountain and Basse jumped around the stage while grinding out spirited guitar riffs, as Jarman played and danced alongside them.
Even in quieter moments, flipturn’s stage presence was undeniable. There’s a melancholy tone to Basse’s voice that created an underlying tension in more energetic songs, but it came out in full force during the heartbreaking “Whales.” The crowd clung to every word as Basse lamented, “It was too much, oh, it was more than you could handle.” Later in the night, Basse looked almost overcome with emotion as he sang about loneliness in “Space Cowboy.”
Many of flipturn’s songs are filled with heartbreak and grief, but the tone of the night was far from sorrowful. Instead, they harnessed the raw emotions of the music and alongside those of the crowd and turned it into an expression of joy: the euphoria of a communal experience of live music. During “Hippies,” a song off the group’s 2018 EP Citrona about losing a lover, the audience screamed lyrics back at the performers. The band played “August,” another anguished song on Citrona, during their encore. It was clearly a fan favorite, with seemingly every person in the room singing along impeccably. There was no trace of any heartbreak that might have been present when it was written; pure enjoyment was all you could see on the band’s faces.
Flipturn put on an excellent performance that reminded concertgoers of the joy of live music. If you ever get the chance to see them, I hope you experience the same.
See the full photo gallery here.
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