- Date: Aug 10 2010
- City: Toronto, ON
- Venue: Kool Haus
- Rating: 4 / 5
In terms of "show" you don't ever expect much from an Interpol concert. The NYC post-punkers are so stoic, when frontman Paul Banks clears his throat between songs, it could be considered stage banter. But that doesn't mean there wasn't much to look forward to from the band's Kool Haus gig.
First off, it was a chance to sneak peak at material from the band's upcoming album, the creatively titled Interpol, out Sept. 7. It was also a chance to judge how the new guys — bassist David Pajo (Slint and more) and keyboardist Brandon Curtis (Secret Machines) — are making out, having replaced the dearly departed founding bassist Carlos D. (he of the fancy outfits)
Mostly, though, it was a chance to see them again in a club setting instead of in a stadium opening for U2, which is where they would have been playing if Bono hadn't been out of commission with a slipped disc.
Really, you don't go to see Interpol for pizzazz and pyro or a singer who can do the splits. It's all about mood. And all it took was the blue lights, some dry ice and the opening chords of "Success" (the lead track on the new record) to set the tone for the gloomy but glorious next 90 minutes. The set was a mix of fan favourites from the early days (i.e., not much from 2007's contentious major label release Our Love To Admire) and selections from the new record, which will apparently provide more twisted romance and bleak break-up anthems for the doomed.
What of Carlos' absence? Well, Pajo is no showboat, but he can keep the rhythm just fine. And now that you don't need to focus on enjoying Carlos' hair you can appreciate how much guitarist Daniel Kessler actually moves around. Was the band extra reserved as a result of the line-up change? Perhaps. But the crowd didn't seem to mind.
"Lights," the first track from the new disc to be released earlier this year (with a must-see sexy sci-fi fetishist video to boot) has clearly been spinning in a lot of iPods: cheers when up for its intro, turning to widespread clapping of the beat throughout.
In fact, after bit of the usual Toronto audience apathy, there was a lot of handclapping going on throughout the last half of the show. (One can imagine drummer Sam Fogarino thinking, "Just hang on, I've got that covered. What is this, a Sloan concert?") For despite the dour nature of some of the music, the deep reds of the lighting, the smoke machine and the detached demeanour of the members, there's something rather joyful about Interpol, and the Toronto crowd was feeling it.
By the encore, the slow-burn "NYC" building into the raucous frenzy of "Slow Hands," it was verging on dance party. Fogarino seemed to appreciate that: he stepped up to the mic on his way off the stage to offer "Fuck Montreal." At an Interpol show, that's as exciting of a spontaneous rant as you're going to get.