The Men and Parquet Courts Live at the Garage

The Men / Parquet Courts
The Relentless Garage, London
March 19th

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New York quartet Parquet Courts are creating quite a healthy little buzz for themselves at the moment and it’s not hard to see why. They were the ‘band everyone was talking about’ at SXSW this year and tonight they face a crammed to capacity Garage as they swagger out onstage to confront a London crowd eager to see what all the fuss is about. And they take it calmly in their stride. Parquet Courts are effortlessly cool, brooding with a Velvet Underground menace, a spiky Mark E Smith snarl and wailing Pavement-esque out of tune guitars, they are minimal, jagged and have some excellent songs hidden amongst the noise and snarl. You’re going to be hearing a lot from this band this year.

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Whilst Parquet Courts are rigid and tight, The Men couldn’t be set further apart. The Men are lose, raw, wild, explosive and all over the fucking place. In short, The Men are utterly life-affirming and incredibly exciting to watch. Live, like their recorded output, they swerve wildly from and between abrasive noise punk, Neil Young country-tinged rock, wild psychedelia, melodic grunge and everything in between. The Men pay no heed to rules. This is music flowing freely for a multitude of influences. They’re like the 13th Floor Elevators meets Spacemen 3 meets The Wipers meets Mudhoney meets Neil Young meets Black Flag and it sounds so good it makes you want to hold your breath and detonate. The Men are utterly thrilling. Grab the first chance you get to see them live.

James Sherry

Your Demise live at The Garage

(w/Heights, Counterparts, Fact)
23rd February
The Garage, London

Your Demise only released their EP Cold Chillin’ at the start of this month and already it’s gone like a rocket, sky high in the hardcore/punk scene. The five-piece heavy titans have proved all the doubters wrong and to top it off is their recent UK leg, bouncing from city to city and taking hold of fans new and old on board for one of the mightiest adventures to date!

Joining forces is five-piece rock band from Japan, Fact, who took out the headliners on tour back home in Tokyo, selling out shows effortlessly. Tonight’s show sees them open a little earlier than their usual schedule but while many of their members sport Your Demise merchandise, it’s pretty clear that the early set time has had no effect on their optimism to chuck out their striking hardcore turn punk turn electro-pop sounds to our shores.

Canada crew Counterparts aren’t quite the turbulence. If anything they take off, putting their foot down and accelerating their chunky beat downs and thrilling rifts into a whole other dimension. With giant choruses led by vocalist Brendan Murphy, they’re the force tearing apart the four walls that frame them here tonight. “This is wild, I don’t even know why you care” says Brendan. The crowd turn into a hurricane, spitting out circle pits and chew apart The Relentless Garage whilst Counterparts lure in even those in the furthest corners of the room.

Now with lift off out the way, Heights take control and steer their post-hardcore set primed with infectious and brutal stormy songs towards an atmosphere filled with absolute carnage. Revving the engine, front man Monty elbows the killjoys at Newcastle and thanks security for “keeping you all safe” before dipping into ‘Dead Ends’. Their first class set is ruled by their great attempt to carry out a pit so grand there are more people participating than those standing back and watching. Monty begins to wrap his microphone around his neck, falling into the first few rows as the final chorus for ‘The Lost And Alone’ pours out.

Heavyweights Your Demise need no introduction. Dragging new hit ‘Karma’ through the air tonight, Ed and co tremble the room with the raging rhythm pushing through. Lifting ‘Nearly Home’ off this year’s EP, the monster vocals tear Your Demise through the sky, a place after tonight they can safely call theirs.

‘These Lights’ act as a birds eye view of Your Demise fan army flying head first towards the stage. The Southern mob navigate towards past creations ‘Scared Of The Light’ and ‘Like A Broken Record’. Front man Ed grabs a fan and starts counting down to when he informs the kid to do “the best stage dive”. As he reaches 1, the rest of the room swallow up said kid. Such actions even manage to tempt first support Fact to join in. This time round, it’s Ed that needs rescuing back to the stage.

The members of Fact guide the gang vocals in ‘Worthless’ while ‘Burnt Tongues’ see’s Monty of Heights join for the remaining verse and chorus, giving Ed some time out. But the jetway bridges open to the mass of flying bodies and raised arms. Just in time for ‘Miles Away’, the only thing setting the fans and YD crew apart is the stage as they unite in sequences of consistent stage dives. Massive anthem ‘The Kids We Used To Be’ elevates and all on board will be jet lagged until next time.

Jenny Chu

La Dispute and Title Fight Live at The Garage

La Dispute/Title Fight
The Garage, London
20th September 2012

From the get go, Title Fight had the audience exactly where they wanted them. Everyone was ferocious, and as eager to sing along with vocalist, Jamie Rhoden. The crowd, ever so relentless, couldn’t help themselves but to climb on the stage at every opportunity.

At any one given time, there were at least three fans either climbing on the stage, or diving off. At first, it was quite cool; fans showing their support and singing along, forgetting about the bruises and jumping into the pit, but the novelty factor soon wore off. If not for the Title Fights’s musicianship, it would’ve been difficult putting up with such distractions. It was impressive to see them pull of a flawless set in the midst of cables being ripped off mics, and roadies on call every few minutes to fix a stand or make sure nothing else was damaged. Gang chants are one thing, but to have the crowd to sing, more like shout, to every word in the set was something else.

Title Fight occasionally drifted off in an almost shoegaze-esque fashion, taking the crowd with them in these calm moments before the storm reappeared. The set list was filled with songs from their debut album ‘Shed’, EP ‘The Last Thing You Forget’, and not forgetting tracks from latest release ‘Floral Green‘. Title Fight pulled of an awesome performance, despite the over eager and somewhat off-putting crowd.

The crowd, the energy, the feel and the atmosphere refined to a less destructive and a more aware audience as heroes La Dispute emerge. The hardcore kids seem to have got crowd surfing out of their systems. La Dispute just make the crowd listen and hang on to every word.

La Dispute, one of bands which make up “The Wave” which have taken Post-Hardcore by storm and stand out because of the their eclectic styles and lyrical content, with the majority of their songs based on true events, accounts and retelling of old stories which they’ve acquired from meeting various people on their travels. And this is precisely why the songs are so gripping. And despite being sad they’re honest memento’s to lives once lived.

Tonight’s set list was varied, covering material from the acclaimed albums ‘Somewhere At The Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair’ and the most recent ‘Wildlife‘. The show started of with all out bruised bodies and the whole heart shrinks which perfectly exemplifies Jordan Dreyer’s vocal styling, from starting off like a spoken word poem and drifting off to screaming out the rest.

They played, for the first time live, ‘St Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church Blues‘ which was a hit with the crowd. But the outstanding song of the night, one that’s rarely played was ‘Andria’ .

After charging through a truly awesome and emotional set. La Dispute re-emerged for a two song encore. ‘Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit’ and ‘King Park’ which left the crowd roaring out loud “Can I still get in to heaven if i kill myself”. La Dispute need to hit our shores more often, too many people missed out on tonight due to the intimate venue size, plus there are many more epic songs to be heard live.

Words: Arif Noor
Photos: Adam Waugh

Flogging Molly live at the Garage

29/6/11

“We’re off to Greece this weekend – they won’t know what tear gas is until they’ve seen us!” cackles Flogging Molly frontman Dave King, shortly before his band rip into the barnstormer of a title track from recent album ‘Speed Of Darkness’. Flogging Molly have sold out far bigger London venues than the Garage, and although Dave’s frequent one-liners are hardly the stuff of comic genius, they do add to the sense of intimacy that just wouldn’t exist at, say, the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Let’s not forget, also, that Flogging Molly cut their teeth in small bars and clubs for quite a while before their hard work started to pay off, so tonight represents something of a return to their roots. By the time they hit the stage, the booze has been flowing freely for a good couple of hours, and the sing-along for the opening ‘The Likes Of You Again’ is proof enough that the band’s loyal following hasn’t deserted them in their two-year absence from these shores.

There isn’t really much in the way of musical surprises on offer tonight, with a handful of newer songs on offer, plus most of the old favourites – the drum and banjo intro of ‘Drunken Lullabies’, in particular, inciting absolute mayhem amongst the increasingly sweaty and delighted crowd. Flogging Molly remain a true band of the people, and even if tonight sees them doing little more than what they usually do (albeit in a smaller setting), they still do it better than most other Celtic punk bands around today.

Alex Gosman