Parquet Courts are some of the most unique rock musicians in the industry right now and their tour promoting new album Wide Awake! has them performing at arguably their highest calibre.
The Brooklyn-based band has been making consistently interesting and unique art-punk since 2011, with their 2012 debut studio release Light Up Gold bringing them recognition in Brooklyn’s rising punk scene. Since then, they’ve put out an album or EP practically every year, with each one encompassing different styles. How they have the time to tour so frequently and well in between these releases is quite frankly astounding Wide Awake! is their most political album and arguably their most developed. Comparing these long, often somber songs, to the minute-long bursts of energy off their debut, they seem like a different band. However, Parquet Courts blend these songs seamlessly in their live show, going from new tracks like ‘Freebird II’ into old classics like ‘Donuts Only.’ If you have seen the group live many times, you grow to appreciate how with every tour they throw in a few deep cuts from their back catalogue and it was nice to see a group of big fans at the front going nuts for more obscure gems such as ‘Bodies Made Of’.
Opening with ‘Total Football’, Wide Awake!’s bombastic call-to-action opener, Parquet Courts quickly got the crowd moving and by the time of their 3rd song it may as well have been a hometown show for how ecstatic the crowd was to them. Sean Yates’ bass was smooth and slick while Max Savage’s drums grooved with him for a perfect rhythm section as the other members traded off instruments and vocals with melodic ease. The band engaged in their usual banter and riled up the crowd
by saying they thought Scotland was the Texas of Europe, gearing a response of boos and jeers from the Glasgow crowd. As some members of the band were born in Texas, this led to great jokes throughout the night as the band’s leads Andrew and Austin defended Texas and acted very upset, eventually ribbing the crowd further by asking boisterous crowd members to play the songs themselves and deciding that Ireland was the real Texas of Europe.
While the band was a bit tense, likely because of the midterm elections immediately following the set, and the atmosphere was misssing the same ecstatic energy I have witnessed at their NYC shows, it was still a phenomenal gig by the most unique band currently making music. They showcased their range
brilliantly and the crowd had a blast, moshing and jumping along to their punk anthems and swaying to their slower songs. They arguably could have benefitted from a stronger opening band from the rather vanilla Music City, but they were a fantastic main act and remain to be a must-see band, especially for how reasonably priced their tickets always are.
Image: Rob Bazaral