Photo by Carson Paradis

Review by Kathryn Harmon


Few gigs have left me as pleasantly nauseated as Flipturn’s show last Friday. 

I stumble out with the crowd, lean on a concrete barrier on Lansdowne, and wait for my stomach to settle. The rest of the concertgoers pour out as “Shipping Out to Boston,” Flipturn’s tongue-in-cheek exit song, blares from inside. I notice wide eyes across the crowd, our worlds still spinning after Flipturn’s show.

We walked into the House of Blues thinking we knew Flipturn’s music, but the energy we saw on stage blew us away. It cements a fact that was clear to me the second the first chord ripped across the stage- you haven’t heard a Flipturn song until you’ve heard it live.

On stage, Flipturn conducts the crowd and weaves them into their songs. Frontman Dillon Basse quiets for the chorus of “August” and the na-na-nas of “Nickel,” letting the audience’s screaming take precedence.

The lyrics from their opening song, “Churches,” are only understood when posed as a question on stage: “Can you feel it now/people in the crowd?” The response is screams and cheers of affirmation, and those turn into an instrument all their own.

Their inspirations as a band are even more apparent live, too. They walk on to “Dance Yrself Clean” by LCD Soundsystem. As an encore, they cover “Reptilia” by The Strokes. You can only decipher the core of their songs live- “Take Care” feels like the metamorphosis of a heartbeat, and the soaring synth of “Whales” sounds just like a whale song. Flipturn’s music just makes sense when heard at the moment, their momentum transferring onto the audience in a way it isn’t when recorded. 

The band plays well together, if not a bit dutifully- Basse commands the stage, while bassist Madeline Jarman and guitarist Tristan Duncan share thrilled glances as they play across the stage from each other. Mitch Fountain, the guitar and synth player, keeps his headphones on all night, in deep concentration as he switches between instruments- there is rarely silence on stage, and most of those transitions are sweeping synth. Devon Volbalson stuns as a drummer- at some point, he jumps into the pit and plays on the barrier, then leaps back onstage and puts a drum on his head, playing the intro to “Whales” essentially blind. Their talent is unmistakable, and everyone in the room can tell- they’re going places. 

Flipturn, springing forth from a garage in Florida, is not touring their most recent album, “Shadowglow,” released in 2021, or opening for another indie group- like Two Door Cinema Club, who they’ll open for this summer. Their spring tour, “Something More,” is a secret third option, an independent tour, music-making for the sake of it.

They’ve garnered a lot of success and popularity for those live shows, and really for those live shows alone- their website is proud to credit this as “organic growth- not the result of a record label’s big-budget marketing push, but the natural result of consistent touring and fervent word-of-mouth recommendations from their audience.”

When Flipturn’s music plays before you, you become immersed in a world of simmering summertimes, lights cutting through the darkness, packed house shows and cavernous warehouses, lost loves, and things best forgotten. Performance is too tame a word for it- Flipturn is a moment that truly must be seen to be believed.