Live - Interpol Lines Two City Blocks With Anxious Fans





I made it to the door of the venue just as corn flake
sized pieces of snow began to fall from the sky.
Spring training's begun for both the Cubs and Sox,
but Chicago still can’t seem to shake the cold
weather. I was glad I hadn’t left my jacket in the
car. A swarm of eager fans anxiously crowded the
lobby like mice in a pet store cage. The muffled
sound of Q and not U finishing there set
prompted the room to swell with energy. Like
cowboys in synthetic satin jackets, security herded
men and women apart left and right, ill prepared
for the mass hysteria. The surge temporarily
overwhelmed security, holding up the line the
wrapped across two Chicago city blocks. This was a
sold out show at the Aragon. I was stressed and
tired, walking in all I really remember is faces,
hundreds of people in one room bracing for
something tremendous. I was here to see
Interpol.

The show was a last minute thing for me and in the
chaos I lost track of how I was to get in. Rejected by
will call, I nervously walked to the guest list.
Against the constant flow of ticket holders rushing
through the lobby like a river of people, a small
band of brave automatons hugged the wall and a
waited their turn to give a name. I looked around,
black hair, Chuck Taylors, little pins and the
occasional tie, but there was something else there
that night. From the back of the guest list I witness
two young women let their egos get the best of
them, when they refused to move out of line after
having been denied entry. Their smooth skin and
generous physical proportions would have been
enough to convince me had I been in charge of
working the door. Their denial seemed humorous at
the time, but did a similar fate await me at the front
of the line, and how would my ego handle the blow
if my name wasn’t on paper?

When at the front of the line a middle age woman in
heavy make up, tight jeans, and a pair of Ugg boots
stepped out from behind the guest list entrance. In
her hand was a clipboard, and clipped to the board
were the fates of many. “My name is. . .,” I began to
say, but she threw her hand in my face and told me
with her head turned, “You're just gonna have to
hold on, I’m finishing something up here. I’ll take
care of you if you're on the list as soon as I’m
done.” I could tell she didn’t remember me, but I
recognized her from a previous meeting last year at
the Strokes. I learned nearly 12 months beforehand
that if I was good to the woman with the clipboard
the gratitude would be reciprocated. When she
returned I gave her my name, and after a minute of
shuffling through papers covered in chicken scratch
she read out loud, “Drew Hudson? Seems someone
scratched off someone else’s name to put you
down.” Her left eyebrow shot up and she paused. I
was confused.

“So. . . Can I come in or. .or.. . I don’t think I
understand what you’re trying to tell me,” I trailed
off as I continued to talk and she took the
developing awkward moment to open the door.
“Enjoy the show,” she said as she waved me
through. As I passed she leaned over close to me
and said, “ I like your hair, its gotten longer since
last time.”

And with that I was in. I had surrendered 25
minutes to processing, but now it was official. Once
at the top of the stairs I had lost the ground needed
to run anywhere. Everything just stopped. I don’t
know what I had expected to find up there in the
venue. The stale smell of old beer soaked deep into
the wooden floor paneling gave me a headache. I
could buy a drink, but at six dollars a cup, I thought
I would hold out for a cheaper option.

The presence of Chicago’s Goth nightlife reminded
me that some people obviously understood this
band on a level I would never have the ability to
recognize. Their presence helped counter balance
the over whelming crowd of mainstream wankers,
who had recently fell in love with Interpol a month
ago on MTV2. That’s just it about a good thing - it
always breaks your heart when you’re forced to
share it with the rest of the world. Nothing this
important stays secret for long.

And then suddenly a roar ripped from the front of
the stage, and moved its way to the back of the
ballroom. The sound of a thousand screams in
unison filled every dirty nook and cranny,
transforming the attitude of the giant warehouse
sized theater and instantly giving every fucking
person in that room something to focus on. Interpol
had taken the stage and was slowly mounting their
instruments. This was the moment of truth, this
was the real life moment when the coolest band in
the world right now would transform what I had
seen and read in magazines into something
tangible, something that everyone in the room
could experience and remember.

I nudged up next to a massive pillar helping to
simultaneously prevent the ceiling from collapsing
while also blocking large groups of people from
seeing anything. I questioned if I would find
anything deeper than words for my review in the
bands performance. It took several minutes of
positioning before I managed wedge myself
between a cluster of high school girls and the pillar
wall allowing me a view of the stage. As the sound
of "Slow Hands" blanketed the audience, I watched
three impeccable suits tremble together on stage
lead by the rhythms of a shadowy a drummer. With
casual finesse the band caressed the crowd,
convincing us all that this was a genuine
performance. They said nothing all night, just
played song after song. You were either with them
or you weren’t, but Interpol wasn’t going to waste
time trying to appeal to those still floating about.
Besides can you imagine Paul Banks
grabbing the mic and saying something horribly
original like “Hello Chicago, are you ready to rock!”
Instead, they dropped bomb after bomb,
demolishing anyone’s expectations of a show this
size. As I gagged on the abundance of second hand
smoke, I wondered how anyone could do it night
after night. I would guess that its probably not
difficult to become bitter synical about your art,
your lyrics, your melody, your rhythm when your
standing on a six foot high stage staring out onto a
crowd you can’t even see.

I was hypnotized by the clarity of the vocals, and
you could feel the strain in Bank’s voice when
accentuating a particularly dramatic a lyric. This
guy was singing from his stomach, from his heart
and amongst a thousand other people he had
managed to reach me wedged up on the corner
balcony pillar. Until this point I had respected the
band, but wasn’t necessarily hot to their music.
Only now I found my self being seduced by the
bands melancholy appeal. The set brought out
feelings of nostalgia and the deep sound of
Carlos D Dengler’s bass reverberated in
my head, summoning past memories of old friends
and current problems that for a brief moment had
been overcome. The music had a strange way of
convincing me to temporarily stop taking the
present for granted and left me with the unfamiliar
feeling of being in the moment.

I questioned why it all seemed so moving, perhaps
it was the 4/4 breakdowns that pumped the crowd
mimicking the repetitive natur
e of house music.
These sometimes polyrhythmic foundations set in
place by drummer Samuel Fogarino,
would build into an ejaculatory climax before
abruptly ending jarring the crowd into an anxious
fury. I could tell the crowds attitude was give us
more, but the band members only paused, taking
time to sip some bottled water or take a drag from
a cigarette. Before I knew it we had reached that
point. My favorite song came over the PA slow and
dragged out so everyone in the room could
recognize where we were on the play list before the
lyrics could be heard. The lighting, which had been
on point all night, turned a rich blue color and as
"Next Exit" began, a thousand blue hands shot into
the air as if to touch the music itself. An anthem for
the city, the song was well embraced as an
appropriate closing number. As the lyrics came in,
the room went white and for the first time all night I
could really see the band and the crowd. We were
all exposed under the white light. And like that it
was over, no encore, just a real ending. I sluggishly
carried my jacket over my shoulder and made my
way to the exit, the persistent ringing in my ears a
constant reminder that I had just witnessed
something special.



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Live - Interpol Lines Two City Blocks With Anxious Fans