Parquet Courts, Eagulls & Goat Girl – O2 Kentish Town Forum (Live Review)

Goat Girl are the sort of band that make me hate a crowd. Why? Because the vast space of The Forum is pretty empty, and most of the gig-goers are politely listening. This is kind of a disservice to the band, who reel out sort of haphazard rollicking tunes. The psychedelic swirl of guitars with a stomp of heavy, wild drumming from Rough Trade’s latest signing, is just the sort of thing you’d expect people to be lapping up, but sadly it seems to be falling on flat ears tonight. The band seem to notice it to, giving off a mild sense of ambivalence to their audience. It’s a shame really. They really were a pleasant surprise.

From a darkened stage, Eagulls emerge. Or at least four of them do (apparently illness was sweeping the tour). Beside them on screens, they’ve decided to screen clips from old sci-fi classic Metropolis (the one with a tower and a robot woman? It’s a silent film? No?). It’s a nice touch, adding to the atmosphere of the room, which seems to have grown colder despite the increase of people since the warm tones of Goat Girl. Despite lacking a full band, they pull of a set that most bands would be envious of. The gloomy post-punk drawl of those vocals which have come to make the band so recognizable are broken up with brief radio static vocal samples. Again though, it does seem like more of crowd are here for the next act, but are nevertheless pretty impressed by this polished performance.

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Then it was time for the band that the crowd had clearly been waiting for. With expected nonchalance Parquet Courts walk on. As per, they get stuck in early, plowing through into tracks off their latest album, Human Performance. It’s lovely to hear a slow down of pace to delicately strum through ‘Steady On My Mind’, before bringing out some of the old favourites. The audience loves it – the standard raucous crowd surfing begins.

There’s a gap, some jokes, which sadly go over my head – more for lack of hearing (I think there was a toga mentioned) and then they play a handful of tracks ‘as’ Parkay Quarts… My personal highlight of the set comes just after – a rendition of ‘No Man No City’ that builds into a glorious walk of chaotic noise, something only Parquet Courts seem to be able to do so beautifully. Which kind of sums up the gig: a fantastical vision of perfected chaos and New York blasé in sonic form.

Feature image: Eagulls