by Adam McGrath
When you find yourself in or adjacent to a mosh pit at a Parquet Courts show, remember to take off your glasses. One unlucky fan of the Brooklyn-based garage-punk rockers forgot this crucial precaution Wednesday night at Morgan’s Pier, and found himself holding half of his designer frames in each hand. To his credit, he calmly pocketed the smashed optics and resumed bouncing around.
There was plenty of testosterone shaking the deck at the outdoor riverside venue in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge, as row after row of young men bounced and nodded along with the thruster-pack rock unleashed by Andrew Savage and his crew. The 21-25 demographic was well represented, though fans of all ages spread back along the bar. No one could match the energy of bassist Sean Yeaton, though, whose unending headbanging created its own gravity well.
Parquet Courts, rounded out by Austin Brown on guitar and Max Savage on drums, lived up to the buzz they’ve been gathering all over the country, and jump-started their set with songs like “Got Me Wondering Now,” “Yonder is Closer to the Heart,” and “Light Up Gold II,” which showcase a brand of music that is decidedly modern but could exist in any of the past five decades. Jangly, distorted guitars, a relentless 4/4 beat, and lyrics shouted at breakneck pace characterize a sound that stirs the ghosts of CBGB.
There were brief respites to the onslaught, as slower songs like “Other Desert Cities” and “N Dakota” gave the crowd a chance to breathe. Extended jams also highlighted the band’s musicality with plenty of layered riffs. The floor exploded though, as smash hits “Borrowed Time” and “Stoned and Starving” sent the slam dancing into overdrive. A bouncer even came over to cool down one exuberant fellow.
Parquet Courts is more than just another indie New York act. They have a point of view, and capture an outsider edge that exists in high concentration beyond the five boroughs. Expect more fresh and powerful music from this group.
This was the second-to-last night of a multi-week tour with Woods, who brought quite a crowd to the pier as well. Their sound comes from a more folk-rock standpoint, but does expand into harder territory as well as long-form instrumentals that rival Foghat’s “Slow Ride”. Though I couldn’t really get into Jeremy Earl’s falsetto, these guys have no trouble finding fans. Both bands at this show give plenty of hope that a rock revival is well underway.