REVIEW: Parquet Courts at Summerfest

Festival shows can be challenging. There are so many outliers that can affect sound and quality, but for Parquet Courts I don’t feel like their sound being off was the only issue that happened on Saturday last night. I have heard these issues at many Summerfest shows throughout the years and it’s always a bit disappointing when you see a band with as much energy as Parquet Courts fall flat due to shotty sound. 

I don’t want to throw the sound guy under the bus as I feel like the whole show was disjointed. Something that I would expect is ironed out after close to 13 years of playing together. It was not the music that felt off but the whole tone of the show. I’d say the first 2/3rds of the show were a mix of their slower and some of the faster stuff, but the way they went from song to song felt jarring and not a cohesive blend of what their studio albums have. 

That’s not to say there weren’t moments of pure rock that stood out to me above the rest. The meger 7:30pm crowd for the most part seemed to be engaged for a group of people there to see Death Cab For Cutie, with much of the crowd standing the entirety of the show. There were some crowd inclusion singing with the band on tracks like Total Football and Watching Strangers Smile.

Like I mentioned the first 2/3rds of the show felt off, but the last 1/3rd of the show stood out as to what I really thought the entirety of the show would consist of. Balls to the wall rock music that didn’t let up. It was such a large tonal shift almost as the band woke up from a nap. This last 1/3rd of the show was what I was waiting for. The band all of a sudden was synced perfectly the front man Andrew Savage wailed on his guitar like it owed him money and screamed vocals that made me almost worry that he was in pain, but in the best way. It was raw, it was loud, it was passionate, it was the band I was there to see. 

I’m not sure what the tonal shift was but It was palpable to have that kind of switch. The crowd seemed to act accordingly with this change as well. More hands went in the air, I could hear more people singing and people were moving instead of standing. Parquet Courts must have sensed this as well as they played with such fury and excitement to cap out the show. I wish that was how the entire show was but what I got is what I’ll take. I wish I saw them at Turner Hall when they came a few months back because I feel like that show would’ve had the energy I was craving so badly. That being said, for a pre-headliner opener show at Summerfest I’m glad I saw what I saw. I’d like to see more in the future because I got a sampler platter of what I thought a live Parquet Courts show would be. 

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