For being a morose-tuned band, Interpol sure pulled out the jams at their San Francisco show. Even though Paul Banks sings sometimes about how the soul will fade, he felt so much today, and resting his chemistry, there is still this underlying element (albeit very small) of pop I didn't notice until their show at Bill Graham Civic.
Paul Banks and co. spoke for a total of two minutes throughout their hour and a half set, instead transferring their energy into nailing each of their songs on the 17-count roster. Opening with the haunting "Pioneer to the Falls," guitarist Daniel Kessler plucked his trademark, dark-rhythmic guitar line to pull the audience in for the ride with Banks' voice descending over the crowd, more confident and having more depth than I've seen him do.
Old and new favorites popped up, the band sticking to their three studio albums to compose their set. "Say Hello To The Angels" had Banks spit out the chorus in impressive time, and "Take You On A Cruise" was a great example of the imagery used for the backdrop, a Pollack-esque scramble of paint morphing into a huge eye by the end.
Two big surprises included the use of a ballad, something the New York band seems to be mastering quite well unintentionally. Single "No I In Threesome" started out with its per-usual keys, but developed a slow cadence throughout the song, the line "Sound meets sound, babe" before the chorus being met with a warm light that shined on the band and Banks taking the time to really invest in his singing. It was such a refreshing take on a new song. "Rest My Chemistry" also came up like an 11th-hour contender, the star being drummer Sam Fogarino, absolutely keeping perfect beat and time during the chorus, his sticks hitting the skins in such an sharp way I almost thought the band was using a loop machine.
But what surprised me was the pop element that is usually not associated with Interpol; I don't think they're going to be running to Madonna anytime soon to cut a new record, but there seemed to be this air of both dance ability and ease among the band; I was pleased at how many people danced and seemed genuinely happy to be there, which made me have a huge grin the whole night. Maybe they have finally gotten to the point of perfection, where songs roll off the axe and vocals float effortless across auditoriums. Whatever it is, Interpol has it, and I am so glad I went to bear witness.
"Pioneer to the Falls"
"Say Hello To The Angels"
"Take You On A Cruise"
"No I In Threesome "
"Rest My Chemistry"
"Not Even Jail"
"Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down"