Scenes From Last Night's Parquet Courts Album Release Show At Club Dada.
There was a moment during Nirvana's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction earlier this year when Krist Novoselic, the band's bassist, quipped: “Nirvana didn't go to the mainstream; the mainstream came to Nirvana.”
And although it's far too soon to begin pondering what Parquet Courts' legacy will be 20 years from now, it's fair to say that this band too seems to be experiencing a touch of that same phenomenon.
That wasn't necessarily the case even as recently as a year ago, back when the band released its breakthrough LP, Light Up Gold. But, interestingly, as the band's material has become less and less mainstream, its popularity seems to only increase.
Never was this more telling than at the midway point in Parquet Courts' album release show last night at Dada, when the band flawlessly transitioned between Light Up Gold's opening cuts “Master of My Craft” and “Borrowed Time” and whipped a crowd that had been relatively subdued all night into a frenzy of moshing and, briefly, even crowdsurfing. That they were capable enough to immediately slow things down with Sunbathing Animal's most trudging string of cuts, though, is when it became apparent: The masses are ready to embrace the more challenging, off-center elements the band brings to the table. Yes, last night's at-capacity crowd stood still and mostly enraptured for this three-song, fourteen-minute chunk of the band's 50-minute set. And that's something, for sure.
But not altogether anything surprising. The place was packed, thanks in no small part to the fact that school is out for the summer — a fact Parquet Courts frontman Andrew Savage made light of at one point in the set by asking, “Are the kiddos glad that school's over?” — as well as the fact that seemingly everyone who had their own blog or were otherwise covering the North Texas music scene for any area publication circa 2008 was in attendance last night along with, rather charmingly, a few of the band members' parents. In other words? A sizeable contingent of last night's crowd still fondly remembers Savage's Teenage Cool Kids days. Or his Fergus & Geronimo days. Or, put most succinctly, his Denton days.
For that reason, the last night's show felt in a lot of ways like a homecoming gig, even if the band is so quintessentially not from town. Still: Watching former local boy Austin Brown shred through the guitar solos that wind down “Master of My Craft,” it becomes hard not to want to claim these guys as our own.
Brown's playing was probably even more impressive than most people in the audience ever realized last night. After reportedly hitting his head on Monday night, we were told that Brown missed last night's sound check and most of the impressively succinct opening sets from Denton's Radioactivity and Philadelphia's Swearin' as he was at the hospital being checked for concussion-like symptoms. Other than Savage quipping, “We're just glad he's here,” to start off the set, though, nobody was the wiser.
Later, the band closed out its set with Sunbathing Animal's title track and its most upbeat number, said goodnight and walked off stage without offering up an encore or having played its biggest hit to date, “Stoned and Starving.”
Then again, it didn't have to do any of those things.
As still early on in its career as the band still is, Parquet Courts is clearly confident and comfortable enough letting the game come to them.