Parquet Courts started their set at Rough Trade with a very poignant moment, dedicating it to the victims of the Orlando Night Club shooting in which 49 people were killed only one day earlier. that was the same day that Parquet Courts, and a good portion of the RT crowd were enjoying Field Day in Victoria Park, a humbling and slightly sobering fact that wasn’t lost on the audience.
The Brooklyn four-piece known as Parquet Courts (and occasionally as Parkay Quarts…) are renowned for their fiercely independent DIY approach to their post-punk sound. With 5 albums and several EP’s released since their formation in 2010, there’s clearly a powerful force driving the band to grow and produce new music that wont let them stay still for long. Whilst their epic, near hour long RT set leant heavily towards material from their new album, Human Performance, it also ranged freely across the rest of the band’s back catalogue showcasing the range of influences they have blended in to their sound. Occasionally, these combine to result in wonderfully smooth, melancholic melodies that provide a short pause for breath and change in direction from the altogether more gritty, rip-roaring remainder. But even within the raw, sweat-inducing pummelling riffs, there is texture, depth and baselines that hook and caress at the same time as getting every head in the crowd nodding together in time. Shifts in musical style are accentuated when the band lifted the tempo and played tracks back to back without a break leaving the crowd punch-drunk from a relentless flurry of musical jabs and upper cuts. Some tracks are short, serrated sharp-edged beasties, others, especially towards the end of the set, are gripping, rolling freak-outs. The overall effect is both accomplished and filled with edge and energy – clearly there’s much more to come from Parquet Courts…
The band’s line-up on the stage was a little unusual with bassist and backing singer, Sean Yeaton, taking the centre of the stage flanked by guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown who share the lead-vocalist’s duties. Strong side-lighting and shooting obliquely across the stage towards Andrew made for some really nice contrasty shots as he hit the big notes. Drummer Max Savage, looking suitably daemonic with the addition of power-bricks uplighting his drum kit, was a tough shot with the three guitarists filling the front of stage, but it was well worth a little pre-focusing and a wait for Austin to turn to his keyboard at the side of the stage allowing a clean shot through. Moving to the side of the stage for the final tracks enables me to have a little fun with a really narrow depth of field throwing different band members in and out of focus.
Rough Trade East – 13/06/2016