With Party Static, Sin Motivo and the Noids
Rubber Gloves, Denton
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Parquet Courts were the indisputable Homecoming Kings of Denton when they played the infamously divey Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios last night. The past year and a half has seen the former Dentonites get consistent praise from the music press, even being dubbed "The Last Great New York Band." With so much media attention and seemingly overnight success, the boys could have easily forgotten their roots and fully embraced the superstardom being thrust in their laps. But they’ve remained humble, modest and loyal to the town that gave them their start.
Since the arrival of their first album, American Specialties, they’ve been heralded as the saviors of modern rock, gaining more and more critical acclaim with each subsequent release. 2014 was their most buzzworthy year yet, with SPIN dubbing them the Band of the Year and Rolling Stone calling them “rock’s coolest young band.” They didn't have to play Rubber Gloves on Thursday. But they did anyway.
The tiny, dingy venue was packed with fans and friends of the band alike; two of Parquet Courts’ founding members met while attending the University of North Texas before they made the move to indie music Mecca, aka Brooklyn. Mutterings of, “I knew them before they were famous” abounded and a distinct look of pride shone on everyone’s faces: These are our boys.
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After a brief soundcheck, the band launched into what was essentially a 10-minute noise-rock jam session that would have made Thurston Moore shed tears of joy. The aimless air of the opening song put the crowd on edge: Where were the solid hooks and endless grooves of "Content Nausea?" Dissonant chords squealed and furiously frenetic drum licks polluted the stale, dank air before spinning out and melting into oblivion. The tension finally dissipated when the song ended and the band addressed its stupefied, shell-shocked audience.
“Rubber Gloves has changed. It used to say ‘Teenage Cool Kids give good head’ on the wall in the bathroom,” joked frontman Andrew Savage, referring to his old Denton-based band. “Our legacy isn’t holding up. The times sure are a-changin’.”
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Parquet Courts certainly have come a long way since their inception; they’ve toured the world, headlined festivals and garnered praise from indie titans such as Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus. While they could have easily sold out a Dallas venue double the size of Rubber Gloves, they graciously chose to touch down in their old stomping grounds. This wasn’t lost on the crowd, which continually rewarded the band with positive heckles and robust applause.
After such a raucous, left field start, Parquet Courts played all the deep cuts from Light Up Gold and Sunbathing Animal, with nearly every audience member screaming along. About a quarter of the room morphed into Tornado Alley as a vicious mosh pit found its legs and torrential downpours of lite beer soaked unsuspecting attendees. Rubber Gloves was absolutely electric, and the band conducted a current of energy so strong that everyone’s hair may as well have been standing on end. The size of the venue mixed with the fervor and devotion of the audience made it feel like a DIY house show — punks packed in a sardine can.
Witty, wry banter sprinkled the silence between songs. Savage and fellow guitarist and vocalist Austin Brown cracked jokes about UNT and LSD (you know, bonding with the audience over common ground) and the nostalgia was palpable as they reminisced about playing Rubber Gloves on New Year’s Eve in 2012. Each time a member of the band referenced Denton, the crowd erupted, cheering on their local boys made good.
As they chugged their way through the setlist, the momentum intensified. The band appeared completely unaware of the audience during their songs, lost in a world of discordant sound and incongruous rhythm. Each member of the band had a signature dance move, be it an arm flail or a headbang, perfectly illustrating the choreographed chaos of their music. Savage preached to his rapt congregation, almost speaking in tongues as he furiously spat out lyrics with fire and brimstone delivery. By the end of the night, everyone in the crowd had converted to his dogma.