On Sunday, Andrew Savage is going to be in Los Angeles to see if he can win a Grammy by upending projects from Bowie, Bon Iver, Rihanna and Reckless Kelly in the “Best recording package” category. On Wednesday, the Parquet Courts guitarist stood onstage with his bandmates — Austin Brown, Sean Yeaton, Max Savage — and played an 80 minute set to a sold out Crowbar in Ybor City.
While the performance clocked in at well over an hour, Savage and Brown spoke very little (save for a few dead panned jokes and at least one strange exchange with your basic concert heckler) making for what felt like a swift in and out of the sweaty rock club. Or maybe it was the ease with which they moved through their catalog — five full lengths plus a pair of EPs — that made the set seem so easy.
“We perform things from our gut, so [the rehearsed and unrehearsed] aren’t always part and parcel. And to speak on that, in a literal sense, as a performer of music, an entertainer or artist or whatever you want to call it, a lot of that is rehearsed,” Savage recently told CL. “Naturally we know these songs, but a lot of elements to our songs involve improvisation, specifically the guitar work that Austin and I do. We’re still performing, although it's not rehearsed. It’s in the moment. And I like that spectrum. I tend to like things that are polar in life, and especially in art.”
They did that with precision for the crowd, some of whom were just fine sharing sweat in a mini mosh pit in front of the stage. Savage was relentless in his pursuit of ear splitting solos and Brown’s quiet sing-speak was a great foil to Savage’s often abrasive, gruff-throated philosophizing. The band was able to switch seamlessly between the sounds they’ve explored throughout their career by bundling songs from albums together. “Dust,” “Outside,” “Paraphrased,” and the title track from Human Performance opened the set and a mini Sunbathing Animal bunch (“Dear Ramona,” “Bodies Made Of,” “Black & White” and “Vienna II”) filled in the middle. A mix of cuts from Light Up Gold and the aforementioned LPs closed it out.
Hell, then even did a funky, wah-ed out verse from Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” in honor of the couple making out with each other. All in all, you’d never call a Parquet Courts set spectacular. Not because it isn’t jay dropping in execution of raw power, but because a set from the band feels more like a study or an inside look into one small slice of a single chapter from what might quietly be one of the best bands our generation will ever get to grow up with.
Have a look at photos from the set below. Check out a playlist featuring songs from the set on Spotify.