Parquet Courts / Naomi Punk
Electric Owl, Vancouver BC, June 14
Naomi Punk hail from the Olympia/Seattle area, and their interest in '90s alternative was apparent from their first note, one that would repeat ad nauseam. The trio had some things going for them. Travis Coster had a psychedelic modulation on his voice that would fit in the Tame Impala aesthetic, though their style was far tenser. The timing was on point between their two guitarists, Coster and Neil Gregerson, the latter of whom looked like a Norse god as he played in a lower tuning. They had a good flow going through their set, using weird loops to fill the silence as they tuned between songs. Yet, the constant sound combined with the guitarists basically playing the same thing over Nicolas Luempert's tribal drumming had their songs all run into one another before long. They need to go a little further to distinguish their material.
Photo: Steve Louie
Brooklyn's Parquet Courts brought a modicum of showmanship with them. Considering the pearl white kit and black drumsticks of Max Savage, the matching white guitar of brother Andrew Savage, and the Cadillac blue guitar of Austin Brown, they had a classic look. Max also wore a Sonic Youth shirt, while Andrew wore Neil Young, which suited their style of loft rodeo noise pop. While they started off slow with a new track, currently identified as "Bodies," featuring Brown's flat drawl taking lead vocals, Andrew Savage took much of the lead from that point on, screaming out their upbeat numbers that churned the crowd into a most by the end of their second track.
Parquet Courts had a pretty good flow through their set as well, with bassist Sean Yeaton playing the odd bass riff to smooth tuning sessions, and their performance tight, energetic, and varied. They'd create dynamic, propulsive rock worthy of moshing and crowd surfing one minute and turning around to produce layered feedback dirges like "She's Rolling" the next.
Horrible singing was their worst trait. Andrew Savage mostly yelled in a road-weary tone, shredded from a lack of training and/or experience combined with a whack of touring due to their recent popularity explosion. Brown was off-key, yet his voice ushered in some of the most complete moments like "Dear Ramona" and the duet "She's Rolling," the latter of which best suited their voices in a hypnotic setting that lulled the mosh to a stately groove. It seemed Yeaton may have had the best voice, but he didn't use it very often. Regardless, what they lacked in singing ability they almost made up for with vigour.
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