PARQUET COURTS - The Shacklewell Arms, London Wednesday 20th March 2013

PARQUET COURTS – The Shacklewell Arms, London Wednesday 20th March 2013

You can very often tell if a gig is going to be something a little bit special or not long before the artist has even arrived to soundcheck. The show being a sell-out long since is one good indicator; another is the palpably steady building buzz of expectancy as the crowd begin to stake their places in the room like a swam of bees. In the case of Parquet Courts, landing in Dalston for the second of three consecutive sold-out London dates, the rumour had already started to spread: this band rocks.

Those that have reached this east London venue have no doubt done so on the back of the Brooklyn punksters’ debut album ‘Light Up Gold’ (although not actually officially released in the UK until next month) and subsequently being hailed as “the best New York guitar band since The Strokes. So, are they? Well, it’s a hard one to call, but this quartet full of angular art-punk nervous energy are just about edgy enough to cross boundaries. They pump the zone and interspersed with genial American humour – as well as an unexpected taking to out Special Brew refreshments – and an amount of verve from which there is no let up.

With a room packed to its rafters, the dual vox delivery of Andrew Savage and Austin Brown alternate yelps and run at breakneck speed through most of the hour’s set. They fly through ‘Master Of My Craft’, delving into the hooks as if their lives depended on it, then moving deftly to ‘Borrowed Time’ with its extended false stops bringing premature applause, then whoops of laughter from the appreciative crowd as the band rock on some more. That Parquet Courts have conquered London on this inaugural visit there is no doubt; the crowd loving everything these guys on stage are offering to them and there is barely an inch to spare between dancing bodies as they join the band in party mood, from the garage rock of the two-chord ‘Sunbathing’ through to the inevitable set-closer ‘Stoned and Starving’, with its deftly Jonathan Richman– esque lyrics (“I walking through Ridgewood, Queens/ I was flipping through magazines/I was so stoned and starving”) and chuggy chorus line.

Given the hype surrounding Parquet Courts before they had even so much as announced their arrival, there was a lot riding on whether they could carry it off. They did.

by Linn Branson

Photo: Simon Tagestam (Brakaloss)

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