Concert Review: Parquet Courts @ Gothic Theatre

I bought my tickets to see Parquet Courts months ago, my anticipation building more and more until it was time to drive to Denver for their show last night at the Gothic Theatre. Their anxiously energetic sound has been a big influence on my music taste and I’ve delved into Andrew Savage’s stellar earlier projects like Fergus & Geronimo and Teenage Cool Kids, so I was stoked to finally see the band in person.

My friends and I arrived at the venue right as the opener finished, and found a spot near the front at the left edge of the stage. The crowd was packed in already, and it was one of the strangest crowds I’ve seen in a while: aging rock bros mixed with frat-type 20-somethings and a sad small sprinkling of college alt kids. I can’t remember the last show I saw in Denver without running into other 1190 folks but this was truly a crowd of strangers. Fresh off of performing on the Ellen Degeneres show, it seems that Parquet Courts has started their transition into the inevitable realm of watered-down indie dad rock.

That said, the show was still a fun and energetic time. One of the best moments came from the back-to-back renditions of Light Up Gold hits “Master of My Craft” and “Borrowed Time,” when a mosh pit of bros broke out and somehow swept me to the other side of the stage. The crowd went hard, even during slow songs, which was impressive for such a generally older crowd. More highlights included “Dust,” “Outside,” and “One Man No City” off of 2016’s Human Performance as well as the older tracks “Dear Ramona” and “Psycho Structures.”

Aside from this they filled their set mostly with unreleased material from their upcoming album, “Wide Awake.” The new songs were slightly disappointing and seemed to lack that quintessential anxious edge of earlier Parquet Courts, though hearing the songs I knew was just as cathartic as I’d hoped it would be. Their set felt short, clocking in at a little over an hour, and ended abruptly in the middle of “Light Up Gold II,” another highlight from their 2013 debut full length. I was holding out hope for an encore, strongly hoping they’d close with “Instant Disassembly” or “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth,” but to no avail. The main lights suddenly came back on along with New Order’s “Age of Consent” and the crowd’s chants for an encore diminished as a ponytailed sound guy came on stage to disassemble the drum mics.

Ultimately I was glad I went and glad I saw a band that I’ve grown to love so much, even if they are moving further away from their DIY punk roots into more mainstream alt-rock. Their existing discography remains something solid to hold onto for the fans who’ve been there since the beginning, but it looks like the golden age of Parquet Courts has come and passed.

By Hannah Morrison