Flipturn and Mt. Joy wow Tabernacle

Photo by Tehreem Hussain Student Publications

On Oct. 19, 2023, flipturn opened for Mt. Joy at the Tabernacle in Downtown Atlanta. The sold out show featured close to an hour-long set from the opening band, and flipturn’s lead singer, Dillon Basse, spoke to the audience about the group’s love for Mt. Joy given the two bands’ close relationship since flipturn’s inception. During the band’s early days, they toured alongside other bands such as Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Wilderado and Mt. Joy, so a return to Atlanta meant a return to the band’s roots. 

In the intimate setting of the Tabernacle, fans lined the standing area of the pit and filled the balconies close to an hour before the beginning of the opening set. Introductions and conversation flourished as people flowed into the venue; fans turned from strangers to friends — at least for the night — as they awaited the start of the concert. 

Many fans bonded over their excitement to see both bands, given the similarities in genres and styles that transcend through the discographies of both flipturn and Mt. Joy.

Soon, the excited crowd lulled to a hush as the lights in the venue dimmed, and the stage’s backdrop lit up in neon letters spelling out the opening band’s name. 

The heavy instrumentals of the first song, “Weepy Woman,” from flipturn’s most recent album, “Shadowglow,” filled the Tabernacle, setting an energetic theme for the remainder of the concert.

According to flipturn’s website, the band “makes indie music for endless summers, sun-streaked days and introspective nights. It’s a cinematic sound rooted not only in the Florida towns where the musicians first banded together as teenagers, but also in the anthemic live show that’s taken flipturn from coast to coast.” In actuality, the group’s music oscillates between fast-paced indie rock anthems and slower, more acoustic songs on the peripheries of the alternative genre. Currently, the band consists of five members: lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dillon Basse, lead guitarist Tristan Duncan, bassist Madeline Jarman, guitarist and synth player Mitch Fountain and drummer Devon VonBalson. 

Basse introduced the song “Halfway,” explaining that it was about a time he realized he was not in love with someone while on a road trip with them to Houston. The song’s melancholic story of a love that was once strong having faded away is set to upbeat, easy-to-dance-to music — and dance the audience did. Hands waved in the air, swaying to the music. Even those who were unfamiliar with the song could not help but nod along.

As the band danced around the stage, they introduced their cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears. As the catchy chords from the introduction’s guitar and synth rang out from the stage, fans young and old began to dance to the familiar beats. For listeners unfamiliar with flipturn’s original work, the cover of an iconic 1980s synth-pop hit was a way to engage nearly every member of the audience. Touching on themes of power and conflict, especially in the context of the Cold War, the lyrics of the song reverberated through the venue as fans sang along to the band’s rendition. 

Following the cover, the band paid homage to one of flipturn’s earliest and most famous songs, “August.” The song has almost 35 million streams on Spotify alone, and the acoustic version has amassed over 15 million streams. “August” is featured on the “Citrona” album and has become a recognizable feature for the band in recent years. The message of the song, which touches on experiencing heartbreak after losing love that existed in earlier seasons of one’s life, captivated the audience’s attention with fans dancing and passionately singing along with the band. The chorus of “August” poignantly captures the song’s central theme with lyrics like, “We don’t talk about it / We don’t have the time / We thought love was something / We weren’t meant to find / But now you’re a stranger / And I’m still July / But don’t you remember / August, honey, you were mine.” 

During their set, flipturn performed many songs off of their newest album, “Shadowglow,” released in August 2022. The album was produced by Jon Gilbert, who has produced albums for both Mt. Joy and Adam Melchor. However, they also made sure to pay homage to fan favorites from their 2018 album, “Citrona,” with songs like “August” and “Six Below” but chose not to play any songs from their 2020 EP, “Something You Needed,” or their 2017 EP, “Heavy Colors.” 

Flipturn wrapped up their set with “Space Cowboy;” before walking off stage, they handed the setlists to fans in the audience while VonBalson chucked his drumsticks into the sea of awaiting hands in the pit. 

Mt. Joy took to the stage to resounding cheers as they prepared to play the first song of their set, “Lemon Tree.” Colorful psychedelic animations folding into each other played on the huge screen behind the band as the crowd cheered and sang along; the song’s positive energy fed into their experience. 

The band’s genre is a mixture between rock, folk, pop and indie. Their current tour schedule focuses on their 2022 album, “Orange Blood,” which is Mt. Joy’s third studio album. With nearly six million monthly listeners on Spotify, the band has gained critical acclaim since their first set of tour dates in 2017. Currently, the band is composed of Matt Quinn (lead vocalist), Sam Cooper (guitarist), Sotiris Eliopoulos (drummer), Jackie Miclau (keyboard player) and Michael Byrnes (multi-instrumentalist).   When the band announced that Zac Brown would be coming out to play their most popular song “Silver Lining” with them, fans were elated. The country singer sang a verse, his voice mixing perfectly with the guitar backing. The song’s message of finding happiness where you can, in the little moments, even when times are hard, resonated with fans as they danced to the music.

Brown returned for the encore, singing a cover of The Band’s “The Weight” alongside Quinn and flipturn’s Basse. The Band was known to be one of the most influential rock groups between 1968 and 1975, and the cover by Quinn and Brown was well-received by fans, with those familiar with the song singing along. 

Concluding the concert, Mt. Joy paid homage to their beginnings with “Astrovan,” their first single released in 2016. Featuring an acoustic guitar and a laid-back vibe, the beginning notes of “Astrovan” caught ecstatic cheers from fans, especially those who had been following the band’s music since the beginning. The song’s lyrics set a nostalgic mood for the end of the concert, with fans excitedly chanting back the lyrics to the chorus, “Life ain’t ever what it seems / These dreams are more than paper things / And it’s alright mama you’re afraid / I’ll be poor along the way / I don’t wanna see those tears again / You know, Jesus drives an Astrovan.”

Those wishing to attend a flipturn concert can review the remainder of their tour dates at flipturn.band/pages/tour, and fans of Mt. Joy can do the same at mtjoyband.com/tour.