Interpol Plays Deep Cuts & 'El Pintor' at 2,000-Year-Old Egyptian Temple

Interpol performs at the Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on September 2, 2014.

Interpol claims NYU roots, called Manhattan home before the Brooklyn scene became trendy, and eventually played Madison Square Garden while signed to Capitol Records. But if New York is your home turf, you’ve never quite seen it all.

Primed to releasing their first new album in four years, frontman Paul Banks and his dapper bandmates treated a lucky bunch of fans to a most untraditional concert -- a 14-song performance amongst 2,000-year-old Egyptian ruins at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. While New Yorkers escaped post-Labor Day blues and 90-degree heat, the Temple of Dendur served as the backdrop for this well-received hometown gig and a celebration of the museum's new mobile app.

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Speaking of well-received, new album El Pintor (due Sept. 9 via Matador) has been a pleasant surprise, winning over many of the skeptics who were left cold by Interpol’s self-titled 2010 outing. The opening notes of lead single “All the Rage Back Home” earned a rousing round of shouts around the Temple, which must have been a meaningful moment for Banks and his bandmates. The cuts from Interpol’s beloved 2002 debut Turn On the Bright Lights still elicited the warmest responses throughout their set, but Interpol aren’t out of tricks yet.



The song choices focused on Inteprol’s more ruminative numbers, the type one can really vibe to after a hard day’s work. While listening to Sam Fogarino’s cymbal crashes echo throughout the cavernous, glass-walled Met, you couldn't help but think, "Who’s going to rock out alongside ruins from 15 B.C.?"

Still, Interpol’s set list was a head-scratcher. They played four songs from 2004’s Antics, none of which were “Slow Hands” or “Evil,” and only offered a trio of songs from the album they’re set to release in less than a week. Such a set wouldn’t fly in say, Salt Lake City or Tulsa, Okla. on the upcoming tour, but amongst sarcophagi and scarabs, Interpol’s more brooding moments had the right setting to brood away.

Back in June, Banks remarked, “Wow, you all really rocked that one,” following a rousing reception to “Slow Hands” at Governors Ball, Interpol’s first hometown show in several years. After closing with “NYC” at the Met, Banks and drummer Sam Fogarino simply hugged it out before exiting the makeshift stage to museum-appropriate levels of applause.

Twelve years after Interpol’s debut, New York still cares.


Here’s the set list from Interpol’s show at the Met:

1. Untitled.
2. Leif Erikson
3. Length of Love
4. My Desire
5. Hands Away
6. Narc
7. Lights
8. All the Rage Back Home
9. Take You On a Cruise
10. The Lighthouse
11. Same Town, New Story
12. Not Even Jail
13. Say Hello to the Angels

Encore:
14. NYC