Concert Review: Interpol
Formed in 1997, New-York-based band Interpol has been releasing records since 2002. The band has been headlining festivals and sporadically releasing records for more than a decade, maintaining their loyal fan-base, and in the process becoming legendary musicians. Interpol turned heads immediately upon their 2002 release, Turn on the Bright Lights, aggressively shoving Paul Banks and his four bandmates towards stardom.
Turn on the Bright Lights embodied this very questionable theme. The dark, poppy rhythms were paired with cathartically riveting lyrics, which happened to be quite the contradicting combination. Many pondered and dissected the record, only to further the buzz about the band. While the album appeared to be released a couple years ahead of its time, Turn on the Bright Lights was well perceived by critics.
In 2004, Interpol released their second record, Antics. During that tour the five-piece payed a visit to CD102.5’s Big Room, snuggly fitting into the comfortably small area, surrounded by listeners sitting cross-legged on the floor. These intimate moments are the unique experiences one thinks about with a band like Interpol, who’s music has significantly contributed to the industry, and has effected listeners in a personal, long-lasting way.
Interpol returned to Columbus to put on a sold-out show at The Newport on Monday. It was the first snow of the season, and the sparkled streets and dusted buildings set the precedent for what would become an incredibly special evening, though the fourteen-track setlist (finishing with a three-track encore) proved to be too quick of a show for the attendees. With four records released, Interpol could’ve played three hours and the crowd would’ve begged for more. Interpol is like the favorite uncle you only see at big family events. He gives the best hugs, tells the funniest jokes, and always slips you a $20 before he leaves. Interpol is this beloved uncle, and he has been greatly missed.
The first half of the set consisted of Interpol’s favored three records, Turn on the Bright Lights, Antics and El Pintor. Opening track, “Say Hello to the Angels,” electrocuted the crowd with hyper-active dance moves, the signature twenty-second guitar intro queuing in a very familiar track. Banks’s fast-paced lyrics, deep and bellowing vocals made the audience hold onto every second of the live show. The crowd jumped in sang along to nearly every word (whether the lyrics were correct or not…) and embraced in camaraderie as Interpol serenaded the ecstatic Columbus crowd. The visuals were hauntingly in-synch with the five-piece, Banks’s vocal inflections and pitches aligned perfectly with the expanding pupil resting on the screen behind the stage. The red and silver light production created silhouettes on stage, the band members’ shadows erupting sound from their instruments as they performed. The set further continued with “Evil,” “My Desire,” “C’mere,” “Everything is Wrong,” “Rest my Chemistry” and “PDA” (amongst many others).
Interpol closed out their evening with “All the Rage Back Home,” “Lief Erikson,” and the classic, “Stella Was a Diver, and She Was Always Down.” The three-minute intermission between Interpol’s set and encore was enough to instill excessive amounts of excitement and anxiousness within the crowd. The sweet, serendipitous moments arrived, and I was buried in a slew of shoulders, heads and sweat, being shaken to the sounds of Banks’ echoes. The El Pintor single, “All the Rage Back Home,” was an electric charge to each and every person in the crowd. The lyrics “She said you don’t need time, behave, you won’t meet your mate inside,” created an unstoppable energy that creeped towards every inch of the venue, only to reach back to the artists on stage.
The show ended with hands held to hearts, and bodies pressed against one another in emotional exhaustion. Interpol performed the show we all needed them to, and gave a little piece of themselves back to Columbus.
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Matt Ellis is a freelance photographer who covers bands that visit the city and the Columbus Crew MLS team. More about Matt can be found at Matt Ellis Photography.