Over the past few weeks I've realized that Interpol's new album, Antics, is one of those records that sounds just pretty good at first but slowly grows on you until it's imbedded in your subconscious like that tingly feeling you got when your kissed your girlfriend (or boyfriend) good night for the very first time. Upon first listen, I said to myself, "self, this record sounds OK, but it's no Turn On The Bright Lights." I'll admit, there was even a bit of disappointment happening for me at the time. However, unwilling to simply give up after one listen, I tried and tried again. Suddenly, I found myself humming the melodies to "Slow Hands" and "Evil" in my head and felt an undeniable urge to listen to the album at all times. Thank god I eventually got a real copy of the disc, since the advances wouldn't play in my computer, which meant no iPod love (which meant "at all times" was not an option). Last night, Interpol came to Chicago in support of Antics, returning to the Riviera theater to show fans that this new batch of songs was well worth waiting for.
Sunday shows are the worst as no one wants to start out the week with a hangover. Sure, you don't HAVE to drink at the gig, but it just doesn't feel right not to have a beer in hand. However, there's no way you can pass up an Interpol show just because it's on a Sunday, right? I know. So I went. Last night's gig was my third foray into the world of Interpol, so I knew (at least somewhat) what to expect. Frontman Paul Banks would stand strumming his guitar at the center of the stage, not moving much, but belting out vocals seemingly acquired from a deal with an otherwordly being. Daniel Kessler and Carlos Dengler would provide most of the excitement - Dan swirling his feet around and taking short dips to his knees like a white, less coordinated, James Brown and Carlos, well what do you say about Carlos? He would look like a Japanimation character, so skinny you can hardly see him. He'd be wearing big platform boots and would wield his bass guitar (which would seem enormous) like it's a weapon of mass destruction/enormous phallic symbol. Drummer Sam Fogarino would be the constant, driving force holding them all together. I was pretty much right on target.
Opening up with "Next Exit", Interpol spent the next hour treating the sold out Riviera Theater crowd to songs old and new, usually switching back and forth after each song. As is always the case with Interpol, the lighting was spectacular. It almost makes the show. The majority of the lighting is actually on stage and behind the band, causing a shadowy effect and adding to the mystique of the black-clad band. That alone is almost worth the price of admission.
Over the course of the evening, the band played the majority of crowd favorites, "Slow Hands", "Length Of Love", "Evil" and "Narc" from the new album and "NYC", "Obstacle 1", "Roland", and "Say Hello To Angels" from their debut, to name a few. The majority of the audience was in awe of this band. Not only do Interpol have an enormous batch of truly fantastic songs, but they also have that something special on stage that makes them even more captivating. More than just confidence, musical perfection and the mysterious nature of their on-stage personas, Interpol has that intangible quality that makes them seem like the greatest band in the world, if only for a night. I would be surprised if they don't play a larger venue the next time through (or at least play two dates at the Riv). Definitely go see them, especially if you haven't already.