LIVE: Tess Parks @ YES
Tess Parks may be best known for her collaborations with The Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman, Anton Newcombe, but it was a very different influence sharing the stage with her in the Pink Room at YES. Toronto native Parks is on a short solo tour promoting her and Newcombe’s second, eponymous album, which dropped in October. Clad in white, with a ‘who the fuck is Liam Gallagher?’ T-shirt beneath her blazer, Parks sways too and fro, brandishing a tambourine and sipping from a bottle of what appears to be wine.
Parks’s ‘All Star Band’ whip up a storm of reverb-laden psych rock, giving their leader a hazy canvas over which to growl her lyrics. Her voice sounds like a rawer, darker Hope Sandoval, vaguely dangerous, yet always beguiling. It will not be to everyone’s taste, but the crowd at YES lap up her every vowel, Parks playfully parroting one vocal fan’s broad Mancunian accent in between songs. Each song is delivered at a similar, stomping speed, which risks being boring, but instead generates a hypnotic effect.
The reverie is broken by Park’s drummer abruptly excusing himself to use the bathroom, creating an awkward pause. While he arrived back, Parks introduces to the stage Mr. Paul Arthurs, better known as Bonehead. A gushing Parks expounds on her t-shirt slogan by praising the Manchester icons as one of her biggest influencers. Bonehead provides a guitar for the final two songs of the set, ‘Please Never Die’ and the anthemic ‘Grunewald’. Parks’s usual collaborator, Newcombe, is famed for his irascibility, seeing her on stage with smiling and waving Bonehead is certainly jarring.
View this post on Instagram
Whereas Parks is resplendent in white, opening act URF are clad uniformly in black, striking silhouettes in front of the projected backdrop. The Manchester-based five-piece are on familiar turf here, having supported BJM earlier this year and it’s easy to see why they have been selected, their shoegaze-y style is a perfect companion to the psych of Parks and Newcombe. Showcasing tracks from their 2018 ‘For the Ride’ EP and beyond, URF’s mixture of propellant bass, thumping drums and soaring vocals make them to one to catch live in the New Year.