It’s not every day that a slice of New York ends up in Yorkshire, England. Parquet Courts were that particular slice of NYC, and Sheffield was representing Yorkshire as well as it usually does, as the spiky, punk of the American troupe went down a storm at the city’s Leadmill venue.
As Parquet Courts took to the stage, I was feeling a mixture of trepidation and excitement, as I was about to see a band I’d been waiting to see for quite some time. That sense of trepidation was hanging in the air, as an almost capacity crowd awaited their heroes. But, following the impressive support from Ultimate Painting, an expectant audience weren’t let down, with cuts from all five of their LP’s to date, including last year’s ‘Human Performance’, getting an airing across an expansive evening’s music.
Their pulsating, persistent indie rock has a laidback, slacker vibe that makes it perfect music to spend a lazy, summers day listening to, tracks like ‘Stoned and Starving’ (below) and ‘Borrowed Time’, indicative of this. While those tracks, from second record ‘Light Up Gold’, got them critical praise from the genre’s leading lights, their persistent work (five albums in five years is no mean feat), means that their set was choc full of short, pacy tunes that were varied in their arrangements, but all kept you bouncing on the balls of your feet.
Crowd interaction was kept to a minimum for the majority, with many songs merging into one, with seconds inbetween them, mirroring the flow of their records. This was pretty perfect and the gig almost had a feeling of one long jam session for the quartet, as many songs meandered into a rage of guitar riffs and tight drumming, with Austin Brown and Andrew Savage sharing vocals and lead guitar.
There won’t be many more performances this year that match the cool qualities the New Yorkers exuded throughout their set, with confidence oozing out of every song. It felt great to see the band in a venue as intimate and compact as The Leadmill, where you truly were able to gain an appreciation for their craft, Savage’s brother, drummer Max, in particular, standing out as an impressive drummer.
So, for me, to see a band that I’d hyped up myself for years, Parquet Courts definitely delivered. On a gorgeous August evening in Sheffield, the indie rockers came and they entertained a crowd that hung off their every word.