REVIEW: Parquet Courts – Limelight 2, Belfast
Parquet Courts, who at first glance radiate a sense of disdain for all of the folly that comes with the hype surrounding modern rock, came to Belfast for one night only delivering what can only be described as an air-tight set of raucous but complex music.
The band, who formed in 2010, consists of Andrew Savage, Austin Brown, Sean Yeaton, and Max Savage. Having played in Dublin back in 2013 upon the release of flawless album ‘Light Up Gold‘, this was their first show outside of “regular Ireland” as described by Yeaton. They open with eight minutes of curdled sludge, guitars crumbling against a simple thudding rhythm, vocals a flat drone interjected with screams. Swiftly going into the recognisable first notes of ‘Bodies Made Of‘ from the album ‘Sunbathing Animal‘, the band then continued to rattle through a number of intricate yet loud songs with introverted lyrics, all with Savage and Brown taking turns to bark and yelp and howl into the microphone. Songs such as ‘Dear Ramona‘ and ‘Vienna II‘ echoed through the crowd. The band, despite their cool bravado, chatted throughout the first few tracks, stating that “You won’t find this shit on YouTube” and also that it was Yeaton’s birthday, and after some brief yet witty remarks they carried on.
With three highly-acclaimed albums Parquet Courts were not stuck for choice as to what to play, each album holding its own. Starting with the masterpiece that is 2013’s ‘Light Up Gold‘, an album that holds no faults, brilliantly showcasing the bands tight yet volatile craft. Characteristic songs such as ‘Borrowed Time‘ and the title track ‘Light Up Gold‘ blasted through the gig space, with each member of the crowd quick to recognise them and bouncing along. The abrasive but droll vocals of Savage continued to resonate over the surly yet melodic guitars of Yeaton and Brown.
The band’s final focus was on their most recent album, released under the name of ‘Parkay Quarts‘: ‘Content Nausea‘. With ‘Light Up Gold‘ arguably being the album with a heavy influence from many bands before PC’s time and with the most anthemic tracks and ‘Sunbathing Animal‘ with a heavy instrumental focus, this album showcased (Andrew) Savage’s unkempt and genius lyrical abilities. The band began with the title track ‘Content Nausea‘, the fast paced track that accelerates until one thrash blur of words melts into another. Then continuing on to play the politically relevant ‘Pretty Machines‘, a track that has similar influences to those of the band’s 2013 album, with its bouncy and infectious intro. The band carried on playing several more tracks from the 2014 album, finishing with the 6 minute gem that is ‘Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth‘. This tune dates back to Savage’s old band Teenage Cool Kids, a track that begins slow with a long, drawn-out crescendo. Lyrically it is poetic, beautifully showing off the talent that is Andrew Savage, with a finale that tells all who listen that Parquet Courts are not messing around. A powerful ending from the Brooklyn band, a gig full of intrinsically linked fast pace and intricacy. Maria Macfarlane, GiggingNI.com