On a hot, sweaty night, often the last thing on people’s minds is to cram themselves into an enclosed, poorly air conditioned space with a hundred other people, but on July 17th, if you weren’t in the Horseshoe watching Parquet Courts, you were, to be frank, not living.
Andrew Savage, lead singer and guitarist, opened up the set with a few jokes amid some screeching feedback, which kind of added to the ambiance of the night instead of taking away from it, and launched the band into their first room-shaking song, trenchantly singing into the microphone in a way that was reminiscent of the Ramones, the Clash, 90s nostalgia punk rock.
Parquet Courts is all about the lyrical poetry, with instrumental breaks filled with intense, on-stage moshing. The music is about the fanatical, incredibly fast-paced use of sound, with lyrics that obliquely comment on the state of modern day America (and Canada through association).
The band enjoys their music, which isn’t hard because their sound is classic; not the typical indie genre so popular now. They bring back the punk music that was lost somewhere back in the 80s with their lyrical tongue twisters, almost chaotic sound and abrupt endings. The sheer amount of energy involved in performing their music alone, or at the very least their faster songs, tells a lot about their love for their music.
Instrumental overtones remind me of some NIN songs, with that sweeping guitar solo and overworked, indulgent whammy. These songs don’t put so much of a strain on the vocal cords (which is a relief after those marathon lyrics), but do require impressive stamina when it comes to guitar and bass.
I’m shifted to underground clubs in New York’s rock and roll prime. Think CBGB’s, as the band tries to work off their New York background, and, it’s true, bands such as the Ramones got their major break at the club. The music seems to exude the sticky streets of the city in the summer, fitting due to the weather. I picture dirty streets, sun stroked pavement, and dark basements where a group of people would find solace from the heat. Picture the lights of an exit sign seen through doors made of tinsel, and on the grimy staircase, the stick of spilled alcohol underfoot. Parquet Courts stands, lounges, relaxed against walls so heavily graffitied the original colour is completely obscured.
It is here there still reigns the head-bash, the mosh, and the crowd surf, and it’s beautiful.