Interpol – The Bowery Ballroom – September 4, 2014
Interpol at the Bowery Ballroom: an esteemed New York City band taking on an esteemed New York City venue, playing their classics first brewed in the city’s now legendary indie-rock scene of the early ’00s. The love for this band in this city is palpable. When this show was announced a little more than a week ago, it sold out almost immediately. Fresh off the album-release show for their latest, El Pintor, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in front of the ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendur, the band’s follow-up show last night dug deep into their first two releases.
The show kicked off with a real sense of “let’s get into this, shall we?” front-loading their set with the hits “Evil,” “C’mere” and “Say Hello to the Angels” one after another. Antics and Turn On the Bright Lights were both heavily represented in the set list, with some new songs off El Pintor sprinkled in as well. This is what “giving the fans what they want” looks like. In even its quieter moments, Paul Banks’s voice carried some serious intensity to it. The drums, the bass, the guitar all seemed high the mix, then the sharpness of the frontman’s vocals cut through it all, coming through the noise crystal clear. So when their songs blasted off into a bridge, it was Banks’s voice that made you feel that brute force of the tunes’ emotional intensity. There’s a moment like this built into almost all of their songs, and yet each time it’s capable of catching you off guard. “I am a scavenger, between the sheets of union. Lately I can’t tell for sure, whether machines turn anyone,” Banks belts on “Take You On a Cruise.” You feel those lyrics. They cut like a knife.
The band saved El Pintor’s first single “All the Rage Back Home” for the encore, following it up with their hometown homage, “NYC,” and finishing off things with “Slow Hands”—start the show strong, finish it even stronger. Following a tour of the rest of the country, the band will return to New York City for two shows at Terminal 5 in November, though both are already sold out. Seeing Interpol play their hometown isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s absolutely worthwhile. —Dan Rickershauser