Tag Archives: Paul Banks


Interpol Play with a Purpose on Their Home Turf at Terminal 5

November 25th, 2014

Interpol – Terminal 5 – November 24, 2014

Interpol – Terminal 5 – November 24, 2014
Image always matters in popular music, perhaps more than it should. So when Interpol emerged in 2002, pouncing like a fenced-in Doberman onto New York City’s then indeterminate alternative-rock scene, they evenly struck the balance between style and substance with impact. Theirs was a convincing symbiosis. The music was at once emphatic and intricately textured, catchy yet with cerebral and ambitious arrangements, and their image of midnight coolness mirrored it effortlessly, lending the mystique and credibility to a style of rock that was commanding and often imposing. Their debut album, Turn On the Bright Lights, was the soundtrack to Friday nights in NYC, with all of its promised deviousness to be found in the shadows and around corners.

Twelve years—and four albums, including the freshly released El Pintor—later, and Interpol return for a homecoming, beginning on Monday a sold-out three-night run at Terminal 5. With the glimmering bravado underlying the elegance of a veteran band, they played with the purpose of cementing their legacy. Armed with a classic like Turn On the Bright Lights makes it easier to throw around your weight, and an abrupt announcement of their stature was delivered with the opening statement, “Say Hello to the Angels,” a stalwart number off their first record. An assertive turn into new material, like “Anywhere” and “Everything Is Wrong,” was deftly interwoven with the invigorating “Take You on a Cruise” and the crowd-pleasing “Evil,” with its whimsical flavoring of ’50s-era Jerry Lee Lewis rock and roll over their trademark rhythmic surge. Quite suddenly, the divide between stage and audience disappeared like a bridge in the fog as Paul Banks’s haunting, serpentine vocals took turns with Daniel Kessler’s shimmering guitar chords, elevating the icy operative-like persistence of Sam Fogarino’s drumming.

Ruminative pieces “Lights” and the “The Lighthouse,” pulled along by the Kessler’s sultry strumming, echoed just long enough amidst the black sea of currents projected behind them, before giving way to the climactic flourish that everyone knew was coming: The show culminated with “PDA” and its wondrous cascading finale. By night’s end, Interpol had left no doubt of their authority. Somehow, they represent how the smart, artistic post-graduates living in the city want to come across, and their tensely dramatic rock songs have always been in sync with their collectively pounding pulse. Listening to Interpol brings with it a rush, like stepping out into a biting, blustery winter wind from somewhere safe and warm. —Charles Steinberg

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

(Try to Grow a Pair of tickets to tomorrow’s sold-out Interpol show at Terminal 5.)


Interpol Are All the Rage Back Home

September 5th, 2014

Interpol – The Bowery Ballroom – September 4, 2014

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

Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin | distortionpix.com


Paul Banks Stands Alone

December 17th, 2012

Paul Banks – Webster Hall – December 14, 2012

A decade ago, New York City’s music scene wasn’t as clearly stamped as it is today. The Strokes symbolized the brash, carefree youth culture that liked to rock out and party, and the avant-garde art-rock movement that now permeates Brooklyn was just beginning, but the identity was undefined and low profile. No one stepped up to make a bold statement. Then came Interpol. Their music had a tense rawness and magnitude that made you take notice, vividly representing the after-hours lifestyle that’s contributed to so much of the city’s lore. It was dark, seductive and a little bit dangerous. But most of all, it was grand.

Interpol projected a sophisticated image of slick urban bravado, lending a mystique to complement their captivating sound with lead singer Paul Banks perfectly cast as frontman: the storyteller, crafting the script to Interpol’s film noir and delivering it with a haunting and almost menacing vocal narrative. You often got the feeling he inhabited the places others would only peer into and then quickly move past. But recently, Banks has stood apart from Interpol as a solo act, and he put his second full-length album on display at Webster Hall on Friday night. Banks’s presence was such a distinctive element of Interpol that his solo material sounds like a branch of the same tree. Still, he has distinguished his new work with varied and expanded songwriting, while managing to hold on to the badass urgency that made his band so attractive.

Of course, the Interpol faithful that were lured into their world by Banks’s voice and textured guitar chords, were in attendance, but their calls for classic material were barely acknowledged, as he stood poised to assert himself as a standalone talent. The core fans weren’t entirely ignored, though, as new songs “Paid for That” and “No Mistakes” were delivered in true Interpol form, but solo-artist Banks has shed the aura a bit. As ever, his voice commanded the room, yet he seemed less guarded and a little warmer than the dark figure that’s loomed onstage in the past, proved by songs like “Young Again” and “The Base,” which were more intimate and revealing. So while many—like I—came looking for that signature visceral Interpol experience, they were pleasantly greeted by the frontman stepping out a little from behind the curtain of red light and expanding his range. —Charles Steinberg

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com


Interpol Frontman Paul Banks Plays Webster Hall Tomorrow

December 13th, 2012

There’s a pretty good chance that you already know of Paul Banks’ work as the frontman of local post-punkers Interpol, for which he serves as singer, songwriter and guitarist. And despite the band’s success and four albums, Banks sometimes likes to go it alone: He released his first solo album, Julian Plenti Is … Skyscraper under the alter ego Julian Plenti. And now he’s back with a second individual effort—this time under his own name—the recently released Banks. “I suppose I wanted to simplify this time around,” he explains. “Julian Plenti was something that I had to do, but once it was done, I didn’t need to hold on to it. I didn’t want the burden of shtick for these songs. If anything, I’m trying to draw attention away from the notion of a persona this time. I’m just making music and hoping to let it speak for itself.” And as a matter of fact, it does speak for itself. Find out for yourself when Banks (above, doing “Young Again” on Late Show with David Letterman) plays Webster Hall tomorrow night. (This show was originally scheduled for 11/13. All tickets from that show date will be honored.)