Words by Helen Knott / Pics by Phil Drury
A lot of bands don’t have one talented frontman, so it seems almost greedy of Parquet Courts to have two.
Andrew Savage is the first to grab your attention, his stern intensity giving him a commanding presence. But mirroring Savage just across the stage is Austin Brown, providing light to counteract Savage’s darkness, jollying things along with the audience and impressing with his laid back vocals.
Parquet Courts begin with a breathless series of songs from their most recent record Human Performance. In chugging opener, ‘Dust’, Brown playfully sings the refrain, “dust is everywhere… sweep!” – an anthem for neat freaks. Human Performance’s title track sees Savage at his most vulnerable, narrating a relationship from beginning to end, crooning verses alternated with howling choruses. The lyrics are gorgeous and it’s quite simply their best song.
A languid version of ‘Captive of the Sun’ is missing the zip (and rapping abilities) of recent collaborator Bun B, but ‘Berlin Got Blurry’ is dependably catchy, with Savage’s delivery reminiscent of the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn. That’s definitely a compliment.
The second half of the set draws more from the band’s older material. Short, punky songs like ‘Light Up Gold II’ are ideal for moshing, but lack the subtleties of some of their better songs. The set ends back where we started, with a track from Human Performance; ‘One Man, No City’ moves from a lo-fi vibe to heavy rock drums and squealing guitars, then seamlessly back again.
It’s a fitting close for tonight’s Parquet Court‘s gig, showcasing the best aspects of one of the most compelling bands, and two of the best frontmen, around.
Ed’s note… Check out some of Phil Drury’s shots of both Parquet Court and their support act, Ultimate Painting. Some real beauts below, but click here for the Full Flickr of Pics or on the relevant links.
Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17/ Phil Drury – Birmingham Review
Ultimate Painting – supporting Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute 31.08.17 / Phil Drury – Birmingham Review
For more on Parquet Courts, visit www.parquetcourts.wordpress.com
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