The last time I saw Parquet Courts was during the Great Escape festival in 2013. It was in a club called The Haunt, a venue that would morph and grow intro what is now Chalk, where the band are playing this time around.
A number of things have changed in the interim 8 years. The band look a bit different, particularly Austin Brown who looks like a mad professor with his wild hair and array of electrical equipment. They have also expanded their sound a lot over that time adding keyboards and dance rhythms to their repertoire of fiercer punk tunes.
What hasn’t changed is the intensity of them as a live band. They rip it up and the flow between songs is the work of a band that have been doing this for some time. They have perfected the art of sounding like everything is about to fall apart whilst being in total control.
Vocals and song lead switches between Andrew Savage and Austin Brown through the evening, with the latter’s songs tending to be the more esoteric while the former focusses more on mosh-pity inducing rockers. This change of pace makes the set captivating from start to finish.
I was intrigued how some of the funkier numbers would work live, the answer is brilliantly. Percussion and bass are the prime instruments on ‘Wide Awake’ and it worked brilliantly live.
Songs from their most recent album go down a storm as well with ‘Walking At A Downtown Pace’ sounding absolutely scorching on stage. There weren’t really any dips in the set but it was always engaging when the mosh-pit went into overdrive for songs like ‘Almost Had to Start a Fight / In and Out of Patience’ and early-classic ‘Stoned and Starving’.
When the band first launched there was a lot of talk of comparisons, which bands had influenced them. Seeing them now it seems strange that was ever part of the conversation. This is a band that sounds exactly like itself and keeps moving forward with new ideas to complement the old.
If you aren’t already a Parquet Courts convert get down to one of their gigs and be prepared for a change of mind.
Words and pictures Dorian Rogers