One could hear a pin drop during the opening chords of “Untitled,” the song which triggered the hour-long set from New York City hipsters Interpol Sunday night in Chicago. The sold out crowd was made up of 1/3 fans and 2/3 “hypists,” or the people who thrive on hype and scour magazines and websites for the next big thing, having never heard the record. Almost every song that Interpol gave birth to on their debut album, Turn On The Bright Lights, was displayed for all to enjoy, including a new song which I believe singer Paul Banks mumbled as being called “The Feeling Of Love.” With the escalating success of the radio and video airplay for the breakout single “PDA,” an album that surfaced in August of 2002, and a gloomily-clad image, Interpol are prepared to arrest the world.
Guitarist Daniel Kessler delivered an astounding performance, as did drummer Sam Fogarino. Draped in an eye-catching red, short-sleeved shirt with red tie, Fogarino gave his all during the set, hitting the skins in such a manner that would have made Wilt Chamberlain proud. The two of them, along with the Winona Ryder-looking (circa the movie Lucas) bass player Carlos Dengler, really contributed to the pleasurable moments of the set, which was an overall dissapointment.
The biggest let down of the evening award goes to singer Banks, who should take the artsy rod from his keyster and invite the audience into his world. I understand that he is ¸ber-cool and in some countries it’s customary for bands to act like they don’t care, but Banks wasn’t fooling anyone with his nonchalant performance, one that left me unimpressed. Banks resembled a lifeless corpse, occasionally gracing his loyal subjects with a minimum of words like “thank you.” Like a fat child attempting a chin up, Banks barely attempted any effort to dazzle us with his vocals, choosing instead to coast through the show on the heels of his talented guitarist and drummer. Banks should go back and think about his own “NYC,” which was oozing with irony on this evening.
As they transitioned from song to song, it was hard to tell if I was at a concert hall, or in my bedroom listening with headphones on. Interpol barely escaped and heightened the magic captured on their debut, and although the overall theme of the band and music isn’t sunshine and lollipops, the separation between live show and recorded album was hard to decipher. “Obstacle 1,” “Say Hello To Angels,” and “Hands Away” were gorgeous standouts, but sadly “Obstacle 2″ was nowhere to be found. “PDA,” the obvious crowd pleaser, was met with loads of backing vocals from the audience, who were foaming at the mouth all evening to recite the “200 couches” verse. Thoughts of Jim Morrison danced through my head, as Banks chanted his way through “Leif Erikson” like a ritualistic sÈance.
I love the record, I think it was one of the greatest things to come out of 2002. I love their sound and am glad they are taking their Psychedelic Furs and Joy Division influences and creating some really divine music. But I hate their lack of desire to deliver a mindblowing live performance and their overall cocky persona.
Interpol should slow their roll and realize that performing original material, one of a kind creations, THAT is the climax of a musician’s day. Writing, recording, and producing are all part of the routine that leads up to the live performance. If your band sells out a gig in the fourth-largest city in North America, then you better fucking blow the doors off of the theater. If you worry more about your haircuts and cigarettes than connecting with the audience who weathered the cold on a Sunday night to enjoy and support you, then they’ll turn off your bright lights and write sub par reviews like the one that just ended.
Source: Jason Anfinsen