Indie-rock veterans and relentless touring force Interpol put on a magnetic and fierce show a few nights back at Echostage. The crowd consisting of mostly of fans seemingly in their 30s and 20s plus some obvious newcomers was quite enthusiastic in their reception.
Things started out rather casually at Echostage, a venue seemingly in the middle of nowhere with a nice and open space, good stage, great lights and full bars. The aesthetics of the club were quite nice with a friendly staff. The crowd gathered casually as usual, waiting as the minutes stretched by for an hour or so. The doors opened at 7 to an eager but patient crowd. Cosmicide took the stage, opening for Interpol, with seemingly slow and cryptic songs that had some good hooks but seemed to leave the audience lukewarm. The audience jangled along but seemingly more out of politeness than anything. They were friendly and gracious but ultimately rather unmemorable. After another half hour or so after the techs set up and the smoke went up, Interpol took the stage. They looked happy to be there, in this reviewer’s opinion, happier than they seemed at previous shows. Maybe they were reinvigorated with purpose after their new album, maybe after all that touring they found a second wind. Whatever it was they seemed to have an energy that I hadn’t seen from them for some time. The band walked onstage and quickly launched into “Say Hello To The Angels,” an unusual choice to start with, but a great fast song with a stomping backbeat. The crowd cheered uproariously, the band was finally back. The crowd cheered with adulation for most of the set. This was the Interpol of their youth, the band that could deliver gloomy and guarded emotions while still retaining a punk rock sensibility with style to boot. For newcomers, it was a chance to see the formerly-chic and indie darlings still in strong form, better than they have been for some time, sans eccentric and brilliant bassist Carlos D.
The set consisted of mostly older classics from their previous albums, indie classics Turn On The Bright Lights and it’s follow-up Antics, and something I’d been waiting to see the entire time I’d seen them play live part-sentimental and heavy-bruiser “The New.” This song was executed perfectly, soft when it was supposed to be and loud and abrasive when the song lifts and crushes into something darker. They also played a few favorites off of their third effort Our Love To Admire, Of course, they largely covered a few prime tracks off their new album El Pintor. These songs, while very good and very pleasing to some, off an album that wasn’t as great as previous efforts, but hardly their worst (as one fan put it, it was “ok” while their other albums were “fucking great”), fell a little flat by comparison. Ultimately, it was easy to tell which ones were the earlier tracks and which ones were newer, the newer ones just didn’t seem to float and hit with the same beautiful melancholy punch that the older songs did, lacking a bit of the deft touch and scarring old New York that they hailed from and helped define. It should still be said these songs held up to the rotation well.
The band was very energetic, never seeming to mail it in, although with seemingly minimal interaction as their name suggests. They were there to play, and play they did, getting all the parts right at the right times, hitting all the right notes with all the right emphasis as one tight unit. They seemed more appreciative this time around, acknowledging the crowd more and seemingly to genuinely bask in the crowd’s adoring adulation. This was a performance that seemed surprisingly strong from a band at this point in their career. They might not be on top anymore, they may not be in vogue this season or be the fashion trendsetters they used to be, and even though many bands come and go, Interpol proves they can still rock the fucking house.