Parquet Courts @ Concorde 2, Brighton 14.02.14

New York alt. rock crew deliver a non-stop garage rock masterclass on a ravaged South Coast

Feb 14th, 2014 at Concorde 2, Brighton / By Norman Miller
Parquet Courts There's a South Coast tempest raging outside, piling breakers onto the shingle a few yards from Brighton's iconic beachside hangout, and Parquet Courts pick up the mood with a stormin' set that blows away a sell-out throng.

The band spent most of 2013 on the road pushing their acclaimed second album Light Up Gold – follow-up to cassette-only debut American Specialties – plus the EP Tally All The Things That You Broke. Tonight the US foursome - Andrew Savage (lead vocals, guitar), brother Max on drums, Austin Brown (guitar) and Sean Yeaton (bass) – kick things off brilliantly with the brooding slowburn of ‘She's Rolling’, full of sinewy solos and intriguing tangents that show off the consummate musicianship beneath the band's fierce energy. There's never a dull moment – or pause between numbers – as the boys belt out around 15 songs in a breathless hour and a bit.

The set is paced beautifully, switching between styles that nod to Pavement, Velvet Underground and Television at some points, The Strokes and Black Lips at others, always with a healthy weaving of taut garage and shouty punk. If the sound was a bit better, we'd also pick up on the brilliantly sharp lyrics of a band known to dash off the odd stageplay while reading Don DeLillo and Raymond Carver.

The staccato thrash of ‘You've Got Me Wondering Now’ segues into a punky ‘Master Of His Craft’ before the bar is raised even further with a breathless take on ‘Borrowed Time’ then an even better ‘Yr No Stoner’, its loping magnificence greeted by hoots of joy from the crowd. New song ‘Sunbathing Animals’ is a magnificent channelling of Velvet Underground, followed by the stupendous ‘Stoned And Starving’.

Though the pace never slackens, things never quite hit the same heights. But a final flurry of fierce energy – including the crowd favourite ‘Careers in Combat’ – brings things to a taut finish. As is their wont, Parquet Courts don't do encores but everyone heads off into the gale warmed and happy.