LIVE – Parquet Courts @ O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK

Review and Photography by Robert Barrett

It’s hard to think of another band who have consistently put out excellent records like Parquet Courts over the last decade. Latest album “Sympathy for Life” continues that trend, and still showcases a band fully exploring the depths of their sound.

With the final show of this tour ending in Birmingham, they still pulled out all the stops in showcasing not just the brilliance of the latest album, but of their whole career thus far.

London based Fat Dog we’re supposed to be the support for the evening. However upon arriving to the venue nice and early to catch them the crowd were told that there wouldn’t be any support. Not sure what happened here, a shame they couldn’t make it.

The long wait meant the excitement kept rising for Parquet Courts, with fans hitting the bar to kill time. By the time they hit the stage the crowd were rowdy and ready to go. The band seemed to pick up on this energy, and started strong with both “Human Performance” and “Dust”, these classics starting up a sweaty moshpit early into the set.

The showcase of tracks from “Sympathy for Life” showed the evolution to a more synth heavy groove than before. Guitar and vocalist Austin Brown sometimes switching to a giant stack of electronics for songs such as opener “Application/Apparatus”.

“To the very serious section, take a que form the people behind or beat it!” demanded Andrew Savage, wanting more of the energetic members of the crowd near the front. Key tracks from “Wide Awake” such as the choppy “Almost Had to Start a Fight / In and Out of Patience” and the funky title track kept the room on its toes.

Unlike the past few Birmingham visits the band seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage, perhaps it was the elation of being the last show on the tour. An extended post “Mardi Gras Beads” jam session led to many audience requests, each attempted for a moment before bassist Sean Yeaton declared “I don’t remember how to play this”.

“Do you remember this one?” asked Andrew before launching into the classic “Stoned and Starving”, even being 10 years old the song still founds as fresh as when it was released. The night had shown that although Parquet Courts are an ever-evolving band, they have learnt to become more comfortable with the older tracks.

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