October 19, 2007
Speaking of Interpol- the real thing showed up less than three weeks later. Playing the Coliseum, no less. I remember seeing Led Zeppelin at the Coliseum; and the Moody Blues (wherein cheese ball vocalist/flautist Ray Thomas rudely chastised the crowd for not being warm and appreciative enough- which seemed to truly endear him to the ever more surly crowd: the whole thing gave me a headache), Zappa, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, the Dead. I saw them all there, in the day. But none of them played in the Coliseum in which Interpol played.
Possibly because they are now on a “major label” (Capitol Records), instead of with Matador, their former indie partners; it was deemed that the Interpol should migrate from the Roseland, where they played for a packed house in 2005, to the Coliseum, where, even though some effort was made to create a stage (and something like a mood) with only a third of the hockey rink in use. It was almost as if an outdoor concert had been plopped into a hockey arena. Well, not almost. It was just that.
And the opening act, Liars, were terrible. Oh, yes, I know they are the darlings of the plastic poseur set, while Interpol have fallen from grace the less like Joy Division they sound- but Angus Andrew is a waste of a white suit. After what seemed like another interminable wait (it took a while for the proceedings to proceed), Interpol finally took the stage- looking as dapper as might be expected and promptly launched into a stirring set.
It is the juxtaposition of Paul Banks’ reticently diffident vocals with the intensity of the twin guitars, expertly woven by the stoic Banks and band founder Daniel Kessler, who makes the stage his own, whirling and twirling like a rock and roll Fred Astaire. Daniel would make for an excellent contestant on “Dancing With The Stars.” Conversely, bassist Carlos “D” Dengler, seemed more subdued on this night- allowing his bass to do most of the dancing. Tour keyboardist “Farmer” Dave Scher was actually more active than Dengler, which was a bit of a surprise. Drummer Sam Fogarino was a grenade launcher throughout the set.
“It was a rather short set. Fifty-five minutes. The internets were ablaze with wild presumptions and crazy conjectures as to the reason why- but after concluding their set, the band left the stage and did not return for an encore. Instead, after a rather lengthy delay, Banks and Fogarino meekly approached center stage, announcing ‘we really wanted to play our encore, but one of us is too fucked up to go. Sorry.’”
The band drew heavily from their recently released third album, Our Love To Admire, playing all but just a few songs from that collection. Interpol’s second album, Antics was also well represented. And, while the ensemble is noted for its icy cool demeanor, obliquely bleak world view and ironically incoherent stream of unconscious lyrics, underpinned by the diffident reserve in Banks’ vocal delivery- a distinctive power and passion emanate from the orchestral interplay woven into the band’s presentation.
Highlights are nearly too numerous to mention, as Interpol are extremely deft at reproducing their studio sound. “Pace Is The Trick,” “No I In Threesome,” “Mammoth” and “Pioneer The Falls” from Our Love were especially moving and impeccably interpreted. “Slow Hand,” “Narc” and “Evil,” from Antics were matchlessly executed as well. Perhaps the most eloquent performance of the evening was the band’s stirring rendition of “Not Even Jail,” which boiled with unrestrained vehemence and fervent fervor, all hammered home by the relentless drive of Fogarino’s drumming.
However, it was a rather short set. Fifty-five minutes. The internets were ablaze with wild presumptions and crazy conjectures as to the reason why- but after concluding their set, the band left the stage and did not return for an encore. Instead, after a rather lengthy delay, Banks and Fogarino meekly approached center stage, announcing “we really wanted to play our encore, but one of us is too fucked up to go. Sorry.”
The internets fingers pointed to bassist Carlos Dengler, who while rather restrained throughout the evening, certainly played well enough. According to the rumor mongers, Carlos is either ready to bolt from the band for a solo career in film sound tracking; desperately lonely and unhappy traveling on the road away from home- or is really excited by the fact that the band has already written four songs toward their next album (something Interpol rarely does is to write while touring). Be that as it may, the band has continued with it’s grueling schedule of appearances after their Portland performance, so the brevity would seem to be an unfortunate aberration.
Unfortunate because, by all accounts, the band had intended to encore with several selections from their ground breaking freshman release, 2002’s “Turn On The Bright Lights.” Instead, they only played “Say Hello To The Angels” and “Leif Erikson.” Still, even at such short duration, Interpol packed a lot of music into their brief set, giving every indication that they have not yet, not nearly, reached their peak. Their best work still lies ahead.