Parquet Courts has always been, at base, an exercise in irony. Whether lamenting state violence or mocking performative wokeness, the four dudes from Denton, Texas are always, kind of, winking. [Though they have gotten decidedly less winky on their two most recent albums. - Ed] And Sunday night, aboard the Liberty Belle (a giant, four-deck party cruise, which will host Virginia thrash metal band Municipal Waste this Wednesday), Parquet Courts even seemed to enjoy themselves at a remove, cracking an excessive amount of corny boat jokes (“How’s the starboard side doing tonight?”) and jumping around with admirable gusto on the small stage inside the boat’s first floor. Austin Brown, for his part, wore a set of colorful beads (“Mardi Gras Beads,” perhaps?) and sunglasses, while A. Savage donned a captain’s hat halfway through the set. They played through most of their new record, and threw in the greatest hits from previous albums. And despite talk of mutiny, the only violence at the show was the questionably-safe mosh pit that opened up two songs in and only intensified throughout the evening. Despite some minor seasickness (Brown alleged he’d thrown up that evening), the band delivered what they’d promised: Parquet Courts took New York by sea. Setlist is below.

Ethiopian jazz legend Hailu Mergia opened the evening with his proprietary blend of funk and jazz. Mergia was charming as hell, dancing around with his instruments and encouraging the audience to clap along. Joined by a bassist and drummer, Mergia switched adroitly between an electric piano, accordion, and melodica. His set was the perfect prelude to Parquet Courts; for those in attendance, his textured and lively performance added both a sense of fun and a sense of historical context to the concert - Savage has talked about the influence of African jazz and pop on Parquet Court’s rhythms, and honoring his living legacy with a much-deserved sold-out gig felt like a celebration for everyone involved.

Parquet Courts have one more event left of the Northside “Land, Sea, and Air” concert series - their sold out “Air” show will be held tonight on the Elsewhere rooftop (the site of our own Northside party this past Saturday) tonight with Olivia Neutron-John (Goat Girl were originally on the bill but dropped off). You can also visit Parquet Courts' "Total Football" pop-up at the Canal Street Market though June 17, and A Savage will play a free Summer Thunder show at Union Pool on August 18 with Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker.

SETLIST: Parquet Courts @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise 6/10/2018
Total Football
Dust
Almost Had To Start a Fight/ In and Out of Patience
Freebird II
Water Gets Too High
Today Your Love Tomorrow the World
Dear Ramona
Master of My Craft
Borrowed Time
Wide Awake
Psycho Structures
Back to Earth
Normalize
Outside
NYC Observation
Extinction
Mardi Gras Beads
No City
Light Up Gold

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photos by P Squared