Parquet Courts, Destruction Unit, Dogbreth - Crescent Ballroom - 1/20/13
Photos by Melissa Fossum Parquet Courts at Crecent Ballroom last night. See more photos via our slideshow.
Parquet Courts, Destruction Unit, Dogbreth
Those looking for the through line connecting Brooklyn-by-way-of-Texas post-punkers Parquet Courts to Dogbreth and Destruction Unit, the two Phoenix bands they shared the Crescent Ballroom stage with Monday night, might look to the impassioned yet cynical refrain of the Courts' "Master of My Craft."
"Ya know Socrates died in the fuckin' gutter!"
Monday night's bill made a good case for the pliability of the term "punk." The Courts' sound owes to tightly wound acts like The Fall or Wire; Dogbreth recalls the earnest pop punk of Superchunk or modern contemporaries Potty Mouth. Destruction Unit fits in as well with sludgy acts like Eyehategod as they do Parquet Courts (their recent tour dates have found them sharing stages with both), with their heady blend of kosmische mysticism and blunted psychedelic hard rock.
These three bands don't sound like each other but felt tremendously simpatico, and that aforementioned lyric, which is featured near the start of Parquet Court's fantastic 2012 LP, Light Up Gold, is indicative of all three bands' strengths. It's literate, it's brutal, it's funny.
The performances were, too.
Veterans of Phoenix's thriving all-ages scene, Dogbreth took the stage before much of the crowd had materialized, save for the under-21 section, which had arrived in full force and enthusiastically received the quartet's tightly coiled guitar rock. They played songs from their excellent Plan-It-X Records LP, Sentimental Health, tossing in new creations -- one without a title just yet -- and older material, like "Black Coffee," from the band's 2011 album, Chookie, (one of my favorite local releases of that year).
Dogbreth's lyrics, most often sung by guitarist Tristan Jemsek (though bassist Erin Caldwell and guitarist Tyler Broderick both took great turns at the mic), are direct and affecting. Pop punk isn't thought of as a poet's genre, but with simply stated but vivid lines like "On those nights when a song could make me act so weird/Those nights when the moon seemed like it was all ears" they share kinship with the greats, like the Mr. T Experience.
Dogbreth bassist Erin Caldwell.