LIVE: The Night Parquet Courts Killed Disco At The Echo (06/05/13)
By Cynthia Orgel; Photos by Quinn Tivey on June 6, 2013
Los Angeles, CA
June 05, 2013
Seeing Parquet Courts live wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be. But that's probably because I rewatched their "Light Up Gold Road Trip" documentary earlier that afternoon. As it turns out, the New York-based indie punk rockers weren't shotgunning beers, struggling to form sentences in Spanish, or eating peyote and riding throughout The Echo atop donkeys last night.
The oldest of the two Savage brothers, Andrew (lead vocals/guitar), could be seen manning the merch table, where he sold me the last available Chinese food menu-themed cassette of American Specialities (now available on vinyl as well).
Shortly after 11 p.m., Andrew, his brother, Max (drums), and bassist, Sean Yeaton, walked on stage. Guitarist/singer, Austin Brown, joined them a few moments later with a half-empty bottle of wine in hand. The crowd was pressed up to the tip of the stage, huddled tight like a super pack of Crayola crayons all colored the same: “Light Up Gold.”
Parquet Courts began their set on a new note, launching into a slower, but wonderfully relentless jam titled “She’s Rolling.” Max’s drumming was crisp and sharp, causing listeners to be able to snap out of—but only if they so desired—the lo-fi daydream brought forth by a haze of wild guitar and rumbling bass. The air was thick; somehow the sound felt so realistically tangible.
They then launched directly into a fan-favorite off Light Up Gold: “Yonder is Closer to the Heart.” Andrew’s strained and expressive sing-shouts blared throughout the room, an addictive pairing with the collection of whirring, distorted guitars. These dudes aren’t here to play songs about holding hands...they’re too busy using them to shred.
Other standout performances during Parquet Courts’ pulsating 13-song set—full of several screams of “YOU’RE FUCKING KILLIN’ IT!” and “TURN UP THE MICS, BABY” from guys in the audience (or maybe it was just the same die-hard fan)—were additional new tracks, such as the sentimental dedication called “Dear Ramona.” A few chuckles were heard (the uncomfortable kind that are usually paired with an “ouch” or “yikes”), when Brown sang, "Whoever she might be going to bed with, you can read about that in her Moleskin. 'Cause she ain't ever gonna open up.”
As psyched as the audience was to hear new material, it was the tracks fans knew best off Light Up Gold that really got the dance floor moving, such as the unforgettable album opener, “Master of My Craft,” and the huge hit, “Borrowed Time,” full of gloriously tricky false endings. Later on in the set, a fan even requested that this latter mentioned track be played again, causing Andrew to admit, “We did it pretty well the first time, I think.”
But Parquet Courts definitely saved the best for last: “Stoned and Starving.” To say the performance was electric and powerful is a rather large understatement. Like saying “I guess opting for pie à la mode was a good choice.” Of course it was a fucking good choice. It might have been the best decision you made all week. This jam had the whole Echo vibrating and sonically spinning, causing one amped up fan to hop on stage just so he could dive right back into the sea of dancing people.
It was at this moment that I looked up at the ceiling and laughed, because I was reminded of the disco ball that was there the entire time. It was spinning much too slow for a show like this, and its delicate, circular patterns of light, usually so mesmerizing, seemed so puny all of a sudden. To quote Parquet Courts, “light up gold was the color of something I was looking for.” F
All images by Quinn Tivey. Click here to see more of his lovely work.