photos by Joe McCabe; words by Bill Pearis
Parquet Courts / Protomartyr (bottom) @ Sugarhill Supper Club
Parquet Courts have been on tour with pals Protomartyr for a while and when it came to the tour's hometown stop, they planned something a little different. The show happened at Bed Stuy's Sugarhill Supper Club. The place -- maybe you went to the Crystal Ark show there three years ago -- feels like 1981 frozen in amber, somewhere the "disco sucks" movement never hit. There were at least four bars in the place, including one on the large astroturf patio that also housed an old Jaguar. Sugar Hill does not have a lot of live music and certainly not a lot of punk rock shows. Stage lighting was bright like a studio set (they were filming the show).
It was a bit of a culture clash at first. Security was serious business at the door, where all exits were final. "This is like a hipster jail," remarked Protomartyr's Joe Casey. "Have all the fun you want, you just can't leave." Touring with Parquet Courts has done a lot for the Detroit band who seemed looser than the two times I'd seen them previously this year. Casey really is like an American version of Mark E Smith -- though the band is more like a garagey Chameleons -- with wry observations and rants about the many things that irritate him. Nowhere is this displayed better than "Tarpein Rock," a litany of archetypes he finds loathsome and would like to see thrown off a cliff: "Rich crusts, adults dressed as children, do-nothing know-it-alls...most bands ever." For that one, they were joined by Parquet Courts bassist Sean Yeaton who sang the "Throw them from the rock!" part, and Austin Brown then joined for the last song of their set.
Parquet Courts have gotten very good at playing off of one another and while the show -- like the band's very good new album -- had a few jammy passages, they kept things exciting and Brown and singer Andrew Savage's interplay is pretty essential to their sound. Near them end, Brown (who looks more like Thurston Moore every day) was playing his guitar with a bottle of Lone Star. There was a little stage diving and crowdsurfing, which made the Sugar security a little nervous, but things stayed cool for the most part. Except for the actual heat and humidity, which was pretty bad by the time of PC's set. The band front-loaded their set with tracks from the just-released Sunbathing Animal, before unleashing most of Light Up Gold's shoutalong hits -- pretty sure everyone joined in on "Socrates died in the fucking gutter!" No "Stoned and Starving" though.
The rest of the bill was filled out by friends. I got there in time to catch a couple songs from openers Xerox who came in from Iowa City just for the show. Their slashy, snarly style definitely fit into Parquet Courts' sonic world. (They've got a name-your-price EP on Bandcamp that's really good.) Future Punx, which features Andrew Savage's old bandmate Jason Kelly as well as his Dull Tools partner Chris Pickering, played a short, sharp set of their jittery new wave. If you haven't seen them yet, do make a point to, they're a lot of fun.
Unfortunately we don't have pictures of Xerox and Future Punx at Sugar Hill but there are a couple shots from the BV instagram below. Protomartyr will be back next month for a free show as part of the Seaport Music Festival. More pics from their and Parquet Courts' sets below...