Parquet Courts touched down in Burlington, VT on Wednesday night, bringing their latest album and older favorites to a grateful Higher Ground.
The Brooklyn indie rockers released their seventh studio album, Sympathy for Life, on October 22. The stunning effort leans into their expansive sound while feeling more crowd-worthy than ever. With thought-provoking lyrics and mind-bending instrumentals, the band makes a statement on their identity for the dancing masses.
New York City band Public Practice opened for Parquet Courts. Their dreamy, punky disco-rock moves as smoothly as lead singer Samantha York sashaying across the stage. The sparkling frontwoman of the band celebrated her birthday that night; Austin Brown of Parquet Courts brought her a celebratory cupcake onstage. As the crowd sang “Happy Birthday,” he knelt to the ground so she could blow out a birthday candle.
Urging the crowd to dance along, York emphasized: “how good it feels to be together and listen to music and move our f*cking bodies.” Her lilting vocals, perfectly complemented by bassist Drew Citron’s high harmonies, begged to be danced to.
Parquet Courts took the stage in the Ballroom after roughly 45 minutes. The crowd remained patient and was rewarded with an “Application/Apparatus,” an opening jam of wild synths, and a breakneck guitar riff exemplifying Parquet Courts’ unique brand.
Sympathy for Life’s mesmerizing and unexpected melodies draw you in immediately. Performing live, Parquet Courts take their best tracks to the next level with unique riffs and intuitive breakdowns. The jumpy “Almost Had To Start A Fight/In and Out of Patience” felt stadium-sized as Sean Yeaton and A. Savage screamed into their mics. And on “Plant Life,” A. Savage’s masterful melodica was the cherry atop a woozy breakdown that felt wonderfully endless. As swirling green lights took over the stage, in the shape of leaves, the venue seemed transformed.
The band had a hold on the Vermont crowd, heavy on college kids. Parquet Courts shouted out notorious Burlington spot Pure Pop Records, “for all the vinyl heads out there.” They knew their crowd, and cheers erupted from the pit.
After 11 years of “pure unadulterated hits,” as Brown joked, their catalog is far too lush to fit in one set. But the selection Parquet Courts presented showed them at their finest. Their strange, raw music and emotionally charged lyrics can speak on many different levels, to many different emotions. One of their shows is nothing short of a rollercoaster.
Yet all night, the crowd stayed right there with them. Moments after one chosen individual crowd-surfed to loser’s anthem “Stoned & Starving,” the entire crowd swayed slowly together to mournful, reflective “Pulcinella.” Though the band did not resurface to calls for an encore, the ballad was the perfect conclusion. My personal favorite song on Sympathy for Life (and it’s closer), the stunning outro evokes a cinematic emotion of nostalgia and change. Savage’s soft hum could be a lullaby; he sounds unrecognizable, yet completely himself. Before I knew it, I was swaying in time with the rest of the crowd.
Parquet Courts will continue their North American tour into 2022, with two New York dates scheduled for next year. See the full list of shows and venues below:
November 6— Stone Pony *– Asbury Park, NJ
November 17 — White Oak Music Hall- Houston, TX
November 19—Stubbs BBQ- Austin, T.X.
November 21 — Corona Capital 2021 – Mexico, Mexico
February 27, 2022—The Orange Peel- Asheville, N.C.
February 28, 2022— Georgia Theatre– Athens, GA
March 02, 2022– Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA
March 03, 2022— Saturn- Birmingham, AL
March 04, 2022— Cannery Ballroom- Nashville, TN
March 05, 2022— The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
March 07, 2022— Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS
March 10, 2022— First Avenue, –Minneapolis, MN
March 11, 2022 — Turner Hall Ballroom- Milwaukee, WI
March 12, 2022—Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
March 13, 2022— Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit – Detroit, MI
March 15, 2022 — Mr. Smalls Cafê – Millvale, PA
March 16, 2022 — Agora Theater & Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
March 17, 2022 — Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Toronto, ON
March 18, 2022 — Théâtre Corona– Montréal, QC
March 31, 2022 — Royale – Boston, MA
April 01, 2022— Brooklyn Steel- Brooklyn, NY
April 02, 2022— Brooklyn Steel– Brooklyn, NY
April 04, 2022 —9:30 Club – Washington, DC
April 05, 2022 — The Fillmore Philadelphia- Philadelphia, PA
April 20, 2022— Ogden Theatre– Denver, CO
April 22, 2022 — The Showbox – Seattle, WA
April 23, 2022 — Imperial Vancouver– Vancouver, BC
Oct. 18 — Coral Sky Amphitheatre * – West Palm Beach, Fla.
April 25, 2022—McMenamins Crystal Ballroom- Portland, OR
April 27, 2022 — Fox Theater – Oakland, CA
April 28, 2022— The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
April 29, 2022—The Glass House – Pomona, CA
April 30, 2022—The Observatory North Park—San Diego, CA
* with Public Practice