Every so often, a band comes along that breaks things wide open in the world of rock. Nirvana did it in the early nineties, The White Stripes through the 2000’s, so who’s next? If you haven’t already, introduce yourselves to the Parquet Courts. Getting too far ahead of ourselves you say? Well, we’ve been singing their praise for over a year now, ever since their debut mass released LP Light Up Gold (they also released an album called American Specialties in 2011 on cassette only) graced our presence. They keep their garage indie punk, psychedelic jams flowing with the follow up album, Sunbathing Animal, which we highly recommend you check out.
So, when we heard they were playing a show with Quailbones in the legendary Blue Room at Third Man Records, and it was going to be recorded live for a special edition vinyl, as is Blue Room tradition, we were beside ourselves with excitement. Read on after the jump for details and be sure to check out the amazing photos by Shawn Jackson of Sundel Perry.
The Blue Room is a cool fucking venue. We walked in and took it all in. The four, square shaped blue walls, rounded where they meet the floor, almost like the sides of a mini skateboard half-pipe. The elevated stage to our immediate left, various tinted glass sound booths built in to the structure to minimize their impact on sound quality, and a modest bar to the far right. Oh, and that massive mounted elephants head. If looked at head on, and if one is sufficiently stoned, it feels like the beast is charging towards you and has already breached the wall.
We got in line for booze just as Quailbones got started. Hailing from Murray, Kentucky, the five piece space indie-punk rockers looked young but carried themselves on stage like seasoned professionals. The lead vocal had a trippy echo we were digging laced over the Strokes-esque guitars. The voice effects did falter at one point, probably a bad mic connection, and the lead singer was forced to sing ‘clean’ for the last song of their set. The guy wailed even more without the effects, and we found ourselves wondering if they might be better served just doing the outer space trip on a few songs instead of all of them.
After a cig break, and chugging a few stiff Crown and Cokes, we watched the Courts begin to set up. Since the whole performance was going to be recorded live, the Brooklyn natives seemed to take painstaking care during their set up, and, when they were ready, they looked to the mentioned sound booths for the signal. The crowd seemed to grow a little anxious, but, before too much time had passed, they introduced themselves, and told a little story about how one of them had once carried Jack White’s luggage when bell hopping for a hotel in NYC.
“So basically, him letting us do this show at Third Man is his way of paying me back,” he said. There were some chuckles in the crowd and then they got right into it.
Immediately, we were floored by their studio quality sound, which isn’t always easy for punk-tinged bands to pull off live. They took turns on lead vocals, but everyone contributed harmonies, and the guitar alternated between fast pace garage riffs and heavy psychedelic jam. During some points in the show they were literally rubbing their instrument’s strings down against their amps with crazy effect, heavily channeling some thick Lou Reed and Velvet Underground vocals.
After a few songs, since it was being recorded live, they egged the crowd with fun results. Native American war cries, shouts and random quotes from Family Guy filled the air. They kept it trippy for the next couple, and, when they came back out for their encore, they played their hardest and fastest songs of the night. The drummer was beating his kit so furiously his Wu-Tang Clan t-shirt seemed to flutter like a banner in the wind. In the front rows, mild moshing had started. Faster and faster they seemed to all play, feeding off the drummers frenzied energy, breaking beat intentionally, but coming back right on queue with heavy, heavy guitar. We loved every second.
Next thing we knew it was all over and we’d had our minds blown. Filing out we heard everyone else’s mass approval as well. We were also super stoked to reserve our copy of the two-tone (blue and black) limited edition vinyl that only people at the show can claim. You’ve got to hand it to Jack; he knows how to appeal to collectors and music nerds alike. If he keeps booking bands of this caliber, which we know he will, the legend of The Blue Room will only continue to grow. Hopefully you made it to the show, and you can say you were there when Parquet Courts’ first big wave broke big in Nashville. If you weren’t, you’ll have to live with that for the rest of your life, just make sure you catch them whenever they stop in on Music City next.