Parquet Courts are probably as “New York cool” as you can get – with a dry Texan tinge for some extra clout. The Brooklyn post-punk/ lo-fi/ noise four-piece released their fifth full-length album last year, Human Performance, keeping fans and critics alike in the throes of exactly which box they should put them in. Stemming from the same spirit the group found when making the four-month previous Monastic Living EP, Human Performance was a departure of sorts; an opportunity to clean the slate of expectations and simply do things in a different way. Previous projects have landed them in heavy association with the likes of Pavement, Television and Velvet Underground, while their latest work gives way to a broader sound, with catchy pop ballads alongside slack country twang, stunted punk hooks and some of their most sobering songwriting to date. Guitarist/ vocalist Andrew Savage maintains, “It was an uncomfortable record to write,” reflecting on a particularly difficult period in his life.
The band were in Australia recently for Falls Festival, Melbourne’s two-month-long music showcase Shimmerlands (of which they had the pleasure of opening), and some sideshows. It’s not their first time here but certainly my first time seeing them live. I happened to see the guys backstage at Falls Festival in Byron Bay and, being a long-time fan couldn’t pass up the opportunity to very awkwardly introduce myself – thankfully they were gracious about it. They also swung by The Factory Theatre in Marrickville which was packed full of some truly die-hard fanatics who were clearly jazzed to see them in the flesh. Guitarist/ vocalist Austin Brown was the vision of a Kermit The Frog meme at times as he cooly downed a beer and wryly brushed off the one heckler who was boldly bellowing song requests, despite the band advising against doing exactly that in their hilarious computer-dictated introduction.
The rest of the night was a velvety flow of some true abrasive punk mixed with slower intimate moments and some witty crowd banter thrown in, all rounded out with that honest level of emotion that each one of them brings to every song, which is best witnessed when it’s thrashing right in front of you. We documented it all below.
Photos: Dani Hansen/Howl & Echoes