Parquet Courts Commonwealth, Calgary AB, February 19
Published Feb 20, 2016After playing a show in Minneapolis the previous night, Parquet Courts set up for an early show at Commonwealth, less than two years after their last Calgary appearance in 2014, which was prior to the release of their album Sunbathing Animal. The Brooklyn-based band are enjoying an ever-growing wave of popularity thanks to their constant stream of releases since their formation in 2010. Parquet Courts are scheduled to put out their fifth proper full-length album, Human Performance, on April 8, and fans of the jittery rock quartet were eager to get a taste of the new songs.
At 8:30 p.m. on the dot, Parquet Courts took the stage, wasting no time by jumping into the one-minute "No No No!" from their experimental noise EP, Monastic Living, setting the tone by stating "No no no, we're just a band." Without so little as a breath, the band quickly launched into new material from their upcoming album, including the relentless first single, "Dust," about living in a suffocating environment in their adopted home in New York City.
Then, the taut guitar chords of the opening track from Sunbathing Animal, "Bodies Made Of," rang out, and the crowd started to shout along to the captivating lyrics talk-sung by co-vocalist-guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown. The room got sweatier from that point on, as the devoted fans at the front moshed to the band's stripped back rock'n'roll that also featured steady bass from Sean Yeaton and laser precise drumming courtesy of the stoic Max Savage.
The highlights of Parquet Court's set were the songs from their breakthrough record, Light Up Gold. The one-two punch of "Master of My Craft" and "Borrowed Time" mixed tangled guitar and irritable prose about mortality, singing "It seems these days I'm captive in this borrowed time" on the latter to hit home the themes in their post-punk anxiety attack. Later in the set "Stoned and Starving," a fan favourite, introduced suspicious smells of a particular herb, surely from fans wanting to re-live the song's motif later in the night.
Parquet Courts are a no-frills live band. They don't put on any unnecessary theatrics, but rather play their set with a consistent, intense energy. Many of the four-piece's songs drill spiky, repetitive guitar riffs into your head, really demonstrating how catchy simple guitar interplay can be. The band often go on tangents towards seemingly wonky, chaotic noise and observational rambling only to abruptly snap back to the main riff, unexpectedly coming full circle.
For roughly 20 songs, Parquet Courts varied their set with country-tinged punk ballads and explosions of guitar, with packets of memorable, spewed out phrases. Though a band for just over five years, their performance was tight and engaging with enough raggedness to appease the lively crowd.