Parquet Courts– ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER –

New York’s Parquet Courts have ruined my ears. If there’s one thing to take away from the gig, it’s that this band are LOUD. Tonight, upgraded to the Academy 2 after playing at Gorilla last year, they are absolutely ferocious, tearing through a set with so much energy and fervour it’s a wonder they’re able to do this kind of thing night after night. I first came across them in 2012 after a favourable review on Pitchfork, and they instantly set up camp in my heart. They sounded like a stoned, fun Strokes, and their often sub 3 minute punky-pop songs were a welcome antidote to the whole ‘guitar music is dead’ business that was floating around a couple of years ago. I was gutted when I wasn’t around for their gig at Gorilla a few months ago, so couldn’t wait to see them tonight.

Shuffling on stage with little fanfare, bassist Sean Yeaton announces that he’s glad City won, to some cheers and boos, before declaring he just supports whoever’s the most popular in the town they’re in, the band ease themselves into the gig with two long (for them), spacey jams that, whilst captivating, belie their punk credentials. It turns out they were just getting themselves started, as what follows is a full on, breakneck (and break-ears) whirl through their debut album Light Up Gold. From ‘Master of Craft’ onwards, the volume is turned to 11 and the energy up to a similar level, as lead singer/guitarist Andrew Savage quite literally spits his way through a golden run of ‘Borrowed Time’ (with pitch perfect stops to let the crowd go wild), ‘Donuts Only’, ‘Yr No Stoner’ and ‘Careers in Combat’, the latter two, whilst relative sedate on record, pretty much merge into one powerhouse thrash.

A new song follows that sounds big, Savage kind of monotoning his way through a tale about being ‘back in town’, which is swiftly followed up by set highlight ‘Stoned and Starving’, an ode to the munchies, played at about one and half times the speed of the record version, and hollered along to by most of the crowd, a good section of who are really going for it down front (along with a few hilariously aborted crowd surf attempts). The guitar solos, wonderful, clear high notes piercing through the general swamp of noise, remind me of Neil Young’s one note solos, in a good way. It’s about this time that I realise that 1) I haven’t stopped moving and dancing all night and 2) I haven’t stopped smiling. The noise this group make is glorious, and whilst it might not be the most challenging or original sound of all time, it’s one that makes me very happy.

As the set hurtles to a close, ‘Yonder Is Closer To The Heart’ and a brilliant ‘Light Up Gold’ round things off, and to rapturous applause and whooping, the band depart and the house lights come up, no encore, as if to say ‘that’s your lot, clear off’. The masses depart, feeling like they’ve just been stood in front of a jet engine for 70 minutes, albeit a jet engine that plays out thrilling pop-thrash masterpieces to dance the night away to.

Parquet Courts  Official