Ultimate Painting (made up of Mazes’ Jack Cooper and Veronica Falls’ James Hoare) look fairly confident onstage. It’s tuneful indie rock, melodic with no digitalisation, just good old undistorted guitars and thoughtful lyrics. The outfit play about six songs from their new catalogue of music, Hoare pogo-ing around the stage in unison to the tight drumming and his own infectious lines. They’re a promising ensemble and the audience materialises with a positive level of interest.
The Wytches are up next looking fairly unassuming until they let loose with tyrannical distortion, earth-shattering screaming and grunge-inspired contrasts in volume and intensity. The crowd go from gently nodding their heads to forming a wild moshpit as lead singer and songwriter Kristian Bell sings with a verbal onslaught that would make Kurt Cobain proud. The Brighton-based trio have been going from strength to strength recently and it is easy to see why; their powerful performance whips the audience into complete mayhem.
After the two openers, Parquet Courts walk onstage and introduce themselves. First song Ducking and Diving from their new album, Sunbathing Animal, sounds like Devo, minus the funny red hats, with climactic guitars dividing the track’s underlying repetitive bass and intensive lyrical attack. Gliding into another track from the same album with great ease and bags of charisma, the brilliantly versatile style of singing from Andrew Savage and Austin Brown sounds powerful.
Next are two tracks from their second studio album Light Up Gold; Master Of My Craft and Borrowed Time – it’s entertaining and insightful for diehard fans that they’re played in the order they are placed on the record. The distortion intensifies and the crowd go into complete overdrive as the band show they are masters of their own craft by singing and performing with overwhelming energy and talent. Their breathtaking appeal doesn’t end at the end of these two enigmatic and addictively insane songs, they go on to play mainly from their new album, which is arguably their best yet.
Instant Disassembly has an undeniably feel-good tone that reverberates with insight, sounding even better live than it does recorded. The song evokes emotion and depth of feeling with the calming lyrics highlighting the band’s massive potential as ongoing recording artists. After the song, Sean Yeaton jokes with the audience on the way he should play his bass, mocking the styles of the poodle pony tail rockers of the 80’s, before they’re off into what sounds like a fairly improvised and experimental section of the gig with plenty of noise and screeching feedback. The last song on the setlist holds the same name as the album, Sunbathing Animal and has definite punk roots, verging on the side of hardcore. Parquet Courts are a must-see live, they have a completely distinctive sound that will be forever recognised within the paradigm of excellent contemporary indie music.
Words: James Wootton