Photo by Luis Nieto Dickens, courtesy of Elsewhere.
I’ve been listening to Parquet Courts on a daily basis until very recently, I must admit. In the 5 years I’ve been living in this city I had heard of them here and there, but never really dove into their vast catalogue until a few months ago when I heard Human Performance for the first time and became obsessed. Naturally, I gravitated towards Light Up Gold their finest hour, and same thing. Now I hear them on the subway, in the streets and before going to bed. Those tunes crawl under my skin where they synchronize with the beat of my crooked heart.
Last Sunday night a bunch of people congregated to see the band at Bushwick’s new venue Elsewhere. I got there early, so I had plenty of time to wander around and find a good spot. Elsewhere’s layout is a dream. I was impressed with the quality of the sound and the size of the place. There is not a single bad spot in the house, even at a sold out show. The lights on stage were green and purple, reflecting the faces of the young crowd of slackers and stoners. I was carrying a tall-boy in my pocket and another in my hand—my spot was so close to the stage that there was no way I was going to go back to the bar in the middle of the gig.
B-Boys we’re in charge of starting off the engines raging through an energetic well-articulated set. I ran into my friend Alexis who told me “yo dude, they sound like Wire” and he was right. They did a great job, pumping up the audience and leaving a frenzy and excitement atmosphere in the air. Now it was the turn for exiled texans and local heroes Parquet Courts to finish the job. The wait was too long and it was killing me, I had to pee.
“We are Parquet Courts and we are from fucking here” said bassist and lion-tamer Sean Yeaton, who was at the front murdering the bass and rocking an awesome Rick and Morty t-shirt. He played the role of the joker and crowd orchestrator. At first, the people in the front misbehaved to the point where during the show a fan hopped on the platform and stood next to the band. “Hey man,” said Andrew, “you either grab a tambourine or get off the stage!”
Austin Brown had the look and vibe of a substitute teacher waiting patiently for his turn. Teasing the audience every now and then into being loud or remaining silent. “We have the microphones,” he said, “but what do you guys have to say? I’ll wait. I’m sure It’s important.” Then he unveiled the first verses of “Master of my Craft” and the crowd went nuts. Beer cans were flying and splashing in the air spectacularly. “Ya know Socrates died in the fuckin’ gutter!” he screamed.
Andrew Savage really leaves it all on stage. He roared and went hard particularly on “Paraphrased” and “Content Nausea.” Those are his words, his vision, he is an artist of our times and he’s pissed. They played stuff from all of their albums, including a deep cut of “You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now” and a new song about bad dreams and unshakeable nightmares.
People enjoy music in many different ways. Some people jump, some people shake their hips others beat the crap out of each other. I’m usually the dude outside the mosh pit moving his head awkwardly and holding a beer. But I really enjoyed this. It was euphoric to witness these four guys carrying the torch of punk-rock and taking it to a new level. They inherited the legacy of iconic bands like Television and Modern Lovers but they remain fresh and relevant. And most of all, they have the New York swagger. It truly felt like a hometown show.
There was no encore. “Stoned and Starving” would have been the cherry on top of the cake, nevertheless I was satisfied. I loved Parquet Courts, Elsewhere and getting home in ten minutes.