Have you ever fallen for an artist so badly that you couldn’t wait to see them live? That was me with Interpol, and over the past few albums I couldn’t wait to see them live, expecting the same magic that goes into albums like El Pintor and Turn on the Bright Lights. Then I attended the show on July 29 at Upstate Concert Hall and was underwhelmed, having seen the equivalent of their studio work performed live with flashy visual projections drawing more of my attention at times.
I don’t know what it was about this melancholy post punk shoe gaze rock. There was no onstage chemistry between the band members, who barely seemed to look in the direction of the others while they played their instruments quite masterfully, but I didn’t come to see Paul Banks play guitar and sing, I wanted to see what kind of performance the group would give in a live setting. Live performances of studio songs led to a textbook no frills show where we heard the hits and little else to write home about.
Granted, Interpol is a band where knowing the discography is a key component to enjoying the live performance, and middle aged post-hipster crowd was certainly into hearing the hits and more, but this was ultimately music to sway to and hardly conducive to dancing. “Narc” had the first good beat of the night with a Modest Mouse feel, “Rest my Chemistry” could have found a spot on the soundtrack to The Crow, while the popular “Everything is Wrong” definitely had some fire to cure it. Generally, the bass and drums highlighted the larger, more danceable numbers, such as “Take You on a Cruise”, but some songs, including “My Blue Supreme”, “Pioneer to the Falls” and “Slow Hands” were downright depressing. I began to wonder what I liked in the albums Interpol put out over the last decade.
I still like Interpol, but until their live performance gets some balls, I’ll enjoy them from the comforts of home.
Setlist: Say Hello to the Angels, Anywhere, Narc, My Blue Supreme, Evil, C’mere, Rest my Chemistry, Everything is Wrong, The New, Take You on a Cruise, Not Even Jail, Pioneer to the Falls, Slow Hands, PDA
Encore: Untitled, Obstacle, All the Rage