Parquet Courts bring dry, deadpan attitude to Thalia Hall

(Photo courtesy of Parquet Courts)
(Photo courtesy of Parquet Courts)

Since they’ve played Chicago numerous times in the last few years, Parquet Courts has been one of those bands I had always been told to go see, but had never gotten around to. On Tuesday night at Thalia Hall, that longevity ended with a near perfect set that matched the hype surrounding the New York punk band.

Parquet Courts was among one of the first bands I had seen use the thick, heavy curtains that hang down from the ceiling of the venue. Oddly enough, this minor show gimmick seemed to match their stage presence in an appropriate way. All four members drily bantered onstage, illustrating how their deadpan humor is integrated just as much into their personalities as it is the show. Ignoring most of the shouts from the crowd to just “get on with ‘Stoned and Starving’ already”, Parquet Courts didn’t necessarily give of a sense of arrogance, but dismissed those who were just their for the hits and played a little something to please everyone.

Those in the audience who were lucky enough to snag a ticket before it sold out ranged from just old enough to get into the show to well-aged men who were clearly trying to relive old-school punk music. Despite age, almost everyone was entranced when Andrew Savage started screaming the lyrics to “No, No, No!”, the opening track of their last EP “Monastic Living.” Even though the crowd was slightly less aggressive than what was expected (a mosh pit only started after the first few songs), phones were stashed safely in pockets and attention was on the stage. The lack of iPhones and Androids seemed only fitting, especially because the band prides themselves on lack of social media (no official Facebook or Twitter, just a WordPress site).

The setlist, which included some old singles from previous albums like “Bodies Made of” off of “Sunbathing Animals,” also wove in a smattering of new tunes. If the newer songs give any indication of the recently announced release of the album “Human Performance,” then the band is moving into a more relaxed, indie rock inspired sound.

The song “Dust”, which was the second song of the night and the first glimpse of Parquet Court’s anticipated album, was one of the highlights of the show. Although a bit slower with a steady, methodical beat, the buildup at the end will drive anyone who appreciates cleanliness crazy. Parquet Courts has a systematic messiness to them, combining dry humor, noisy, aggressive rock with punk influences, and the blissfulness of not having to deal with people recording the whole show on Snapchat.