LIVE: Parquet Courts @ O2 Ritz
A modern-day all-American alt-rock band, Parquet Courts aren’t shying away from the music scene any time soon. With the recent release of their sixth studio album – ‘Wide Awake!’ – and being a collection of musicians with multiple other side projects; they live and breathe music. The album brought “Parkay Quarts” (as they’re often known) bang up to date for the modern millennial which in turn meant a UK tour for the band. Now Wave hosted the first date which led to a sold-out 1500 capacity O2 Ritz in Manchester on a 6-date tour of which all but one date sold-out. Can you get much more of an applaud than that?
Fiesty and tireless the band – fronted by A. Savage and Austin Brown – are true to their aesthetic throughout and work together to present the Parquet Courts experience in all its glory. Expertly played guitar, drums and bass are layered over the entwined vocals of the two front men, each tracing the other in a unified discourse stream that captures the attention of the audience. The live debut of hit track ‘Tenderness’ from the new album boasts a heightened sense of activity across the room. Already hyped up by the likes of ‘Wide Awake’ and ‘Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience’ there wasn’t any individual stood still and stagnant, jiving along to the cow bell and bass-heavy chords of the former and in contrast, thrashing away to the latter’s weighty guitar rifts.
It’s overall an enthralling set, which goes ahead non-stop, throwing punches with each beat. One of their greatest strengths is timing; within both their music and their conversation with the crowd. The visual light show happening throughout the set matches the energy of their performance and the traits of the band, flashing colours burst on to each member at a quick momentum that you can’t help but watch in awe.
Easing into the end of the set with the ever epic ‘One Man No City’ – from 2016’s ‘Human Performance’ album – it’s a six-minute long venture into the bowels of alt-rock, rife with anti-solos and the chant of the lyrics, pioneered by Savage. The finale comes in the form of ‘Light Up Gold II’ for a swift one-minute ending that acts as the klaxon for the 4-piece, fast and fluid, it’s a speedy end that leaves the audience wanting more. Then they’re gone, no encore but there’s only a dull call for one, as though everyone knows that that’s not the way they do: Parquet Courts don’t play games. They bring their all with a live performance that boasts a rush of coiled energy and serrated intent, from a band unlikely – and unwilling – to lose their edge.