Parquet Courts - Mono, Glasgow, Thu 31 Oct 2013
A Hallowe'en set allows the Brooklyn stoner-punks to display flashes of hedonistic onstage improvisation
Vampires lurk at the periphery of the building, sucking the life out of cigarettes. Zombies swarm the bar, ghouls loom. It’s Hallowe'en, and a costumed crowd lets Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts be the punk-stoner rock launchpads for their night. After a brief (but loud) set by Eagulls, they take to the stage in cardboard masks with smiley faces drawn on (with the exception of an obviously unhappy Austin Brown).
Like incrementally igniting several lines of kerosene, they burn through their repertoire in combustive bursts of three or four songs, through a setlist that appears to have been carefully devised to accommodate both their flashes of punk and hedonistic onstage improvisation.
They remove the frontman, opting instead for Brown and Andrew Savage to flank their bassist, and it works well. Alternating vocal duties creates a sense of schizophrenic outbursts, especially in Brown’s heavily accented squalls.
At times (eg ‘Descend’), they sound like a domesticated, boyish Black Flag, at others (eg ‘Yr No Stoner’) like fellow New Yorkers Television. But Parquet Courts have forged their own brilliant, eccentric noise. ‘Largish/Dominant’ – from their debut American Specialities – is wholly in debt to the late Lou Reed, although the new ‘He’s Seeing Paths’, a wonderfully bizarre Beck / hip hop hybrid, is disappointingly omitted. The expected coda of ‘Stoned and Starving’ is not their best, but by far their best-known, and it sends the shuffling horde back out into the darkness of the drunken-guiser-filled Glasgow streets.