By Bailey Constas
Seeing genre-bending band Parquet Courts is like looking through a kaleidoscope at the ‘90s. You’re still looking at the grungy decade, but mixed with hues of impossibly fast rhythms, transitioned into noise and shades of smart melodies that reinvent the era.
And while the band reinvented the ’90s on Wednesday at the Larimer Lounge, a new song written by Andrew Savage (guitar, vocals and head songwriter) showed how the band can expand on its own sound from the debut album “Light Up Gold.” The track is something of a departure from the normal, snotty Parquet Courts experience. It’s more mature and showcases the band’s musicianship. But the track’s slower tempo got mixed reactions from the moshing crowd. Speed, or at least punk music, is what this crowd wanted.
At one point, a girl yelled from the mosh pit that the band wasn’t playing fast enough, to which they replied “can we not have your attention for two slow-paced songs?” And then to satisfy the concerned concert goer, they played their most popular song, “Borrowed Time,” with a precursor that they would return to slower songs.
For the rest of the night it was a struggle between audience (who just wanted any reason to mosh as hard as they could) and the lightening-fast tempo and potential of Parquet Courts. After a few more songs the band pinpointed the overly vocal attendee once again: “It’s really hard to play with your pouty face in the front row, can someone get this girl a drink?” And like the mosh pit — shoved together in the front row — the band pushed and shoved genres together. Is this punk music, as the audience wanted, and for the most part got? Or is this garage-rock, indie-rock or something in between?
The mixed reactions from the crowd emphasized the overall feeling that you can’t quite put a finger on Parquet Courts. They’re not always punk and they’re not always indie — an idea that drew discomfort from the Denver listeners. Parquet Courts stumped the crowd and enjoyed doing it.
Bailey Constas is a Fort Collins-based writer and new contributor to Reverb.