Live Review: Parquet Courts, Old Blue Last, London (19/08/13)


The band behind one of the finest albums in recent years played a tiny one-off show in East London’s Old Blue Last.

After having been announced on Huw Stevens’ Radio One show on Friday evening, excitement grew across the internet for what would be a rare chance to catch New York’s Parquet Courts on British soil. On the facebook event, over 300 people were intending to go, with countless more people discussing the gig on Twitter and back in the real world. All this for a venue with a 160 capacity, of which at least 60 had already been taken by guestlist for the band.

With doors set to open at 8pm, and entry being done on a strictly ‘first come, first serve’ basis, the race through London’s rush hour was manic (especially as I had only returned from Yorkshire’s Beacons Festival at 5.30pm that same evening). On arrival at The Old Blue Last, a traditional-looking pub in trendy Shoreditch, the scene was calm. However, this was all about to change.

When the doors finally opened at 8.30pm, the queue that had orderly formed stretched well outside the venue and back towards Shoreditch High Street Overground station. Thankfully, there was no problem for Impact, with us being one of the first few inside. As the upstairs room began to fill, everyone realised just how hot and sweaty this was going to get. It certainly had all the makings of one of those gigs; one that will be talked about in years to come.

Proceedings began with an excellent DJ set courtesy of Jack from Mazes, which was followed by an energetic, and highly polished, set from Brighton grungers, Theo Verney. By this point, the room was set to burst, and celebrity watch was most definitely on: Palma Violets, NME etc…

As Parquet Courts took to the stage, a ripple of excitement went through the crowd: this was going to get messy. They raced through a 40 minute set, taking tracks from the aforementioned album, Light Up Gold, recently-released EP, Tally The Things You Broke, and a selection of new material.

The night’s highlights were most definitely those songs from the debut album, but perhaps that’s just an issue of familiarity. ‘Master Of My Craft’ and its seemless segue into ‘Borrowed Time’ provoked crowd surfing, while ‘Stoned And Starving’ provided mass singalongs. ‘Careers In Combat’ shook the floor and ‘Light Up Gold II’ was as exciting as anything you’ll see this year.

While Light Up Gold received its fair share of The Fall and Pavement comparisons, their new material took these comparisons even further. The new songs were longer and more expansive, with heavier basslines and discordant guitars. However, the same fun American garage-rock feel remains, which certainly bodes well for the future.

What a stunning opportunity to see one of the most exciting bands on the scene at the moment, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. As a friend said to me afterwards, ‘they’re the real shit, aren’t they?’. Yes, indeed they are.

Alex Neely

…Alex is listening to Eagulls – Eagulls EP


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