Interpol / Sept. 14, 2007 / New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden)
As recently as two years ago, it would have been almost inconceivable that Interpol would someday soon be headlining at Madison Square Garden. But on Friday (Sept. 14), they did just that, demonstratiAs recently as two years ago, it would have been almost inconceivable that Interpol would someday soon be headlining at Madison Square Garden. But on Friday (Sept. 14), they did just that, demonstrating the voracity of their diehard fanbase.
Since their 2002 debut, "Turn on the Bright Lights," the noirish, black-clad New Yorkers, fronted by lead singer Paul Banks, have certainly had no trouble finding foothold in this city, but the band's hype has blown up exponentially and playing the “World’s Most Famous Arena” is quite a homecoming.
The quartet has been disseminating their morose-rock antics with a far greater fecundity this past year, and the July 6 release of "Our Love To Admire" marks the band’s major-label debut. The album bowed at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, but even that couldn't guarantee a sell-out crowd at the Garden.
The arena may not have been full, but the concertgoers that showed rose to the occasion. After opening sets by singer songwriter Cat Power and rock trio Liars, both of whom are also locals, teenagers and twentysomethings waxed enamored from the first sultry note of Interpol's “Pioneer to the Falls,” the new album’s opener, as the four silhouettes walked out onstage into the belly of a large white curtain.
Ten minutes in, little had changed about the band’s looming, veil-like presence. “We’re going to take a little break while they remove this big f**king curtain,” Banks commented, before heading into an impromptu intermission two songs into the set. The incident supplied a moment of unscheduled audience interaction that otherwise might have been drowned out in the floodlights of the big stage.
Interpol sounded energetic and not overly tense during a riveting rendition of their early hit “Obstacle 1.” Banks’ vocals cued in higher-pitched and far less menacing than those on "Turn On The Bright Lights," while the band itself, galloping forward with equestrian-like velocity, seemed about as anxious to perform as they did to wrap up.
Once they checked back in with crowd-favorite “C’mere,” off 2004’s "Antics," however, Interpol finally set the tone for the night. Bottom-heavy drums; grimy, cutting guitars; and an overarching sense of pathos snaked through the remainder of the set, which included such flashpoints as “Slow Hands” and “The Heinrich Maneuver.” By the time Interpol had finally had enough, the crowd was still grappling for more.