It takes a lot to get Lawrence to show up, ready to party hard, on a Monday night with the temperature so miserably cold… but Parquet Courts was up to the challenge.

Parquet Courts / Photo by Fally Afani

Fans packed into Liberty Hall for a vibrant and vigorous show. That front row was downright rowdy as the New York band fired up their set in celebration of their latest album, Sympathy for Life. The album is heavy on the funk and highly danceable, and the light show (we noticed certain lights on the stage were labeled for specific band members) complimented the upbeat set perfectly as the audience bopped along with them. Crunchy guitars and wailing keyboards over throbbing bass gave the audience all the permission they needed to get down. Parquet Courts remains fairly elusive online, and making the effort to see them in person is worth every penny. You get them in a raw, kinetic form that you don’t get from the albums. Vocals that were more subdued on recorded songs like “Human Performance” shot out from the stage at what felt like ten times the potency. On this night, that energy was reciprocated right back at the band from a crowd that was grateful to get out of the cold and into a party state of mind.

Mdou Moctar / Photo by Fally Afani

They came along with Tuareg musician Mdou Moctar and his special brand of Sahara rock. Moctar’s music played two roles for fans– you could either dance along or just throw yourself into a trance, both were perfectly suited for the unique sound (one that we can assure you never makes an appearance in Kansas, so this was a real treat). He has such a likable demeanor and expression, we’re willing to bet that first time Moctar-goers became instant fans. This event was one of those perfect marriages between two acts where fans were just as stoked about the opener as they were the headliner.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

Leave a Reply