Why can’t a good band understand the things they’re doing right and just stick with that? Interpol is a great example of one of those bands that crashed into the scene with an amazing 2002 debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights [Matador] --full of the melodrama and dark posturing of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, and the Psychedelic Furs—some of the precious few redeeming moments of the post-punk 1980s. Interpol followed things up with Antics (2004), a pretty good CD, and by album three, Our Love To Admire, it seems that they’re just hit-and-miss. Never ones who’ve been recognized for a great live show (and were flat-out dismissed as one of Coachella’s worst acts this year), Interpol’s near sell-out August 1st performance at the Pageant in St. Louis was okay at best.
A rearranged set list might have helped things, as they opened the first half hour with songs mainly from the second and third albums. Yet somehow the trance came off less as cool and more like sedate. Crossing our fingers for a big close, they did finish with a good dose of the first album, but it lacked the atmosphere of their recordings, as well as the energy and light show that we might have expected.
Openers Calla were initially very cool—and yet seemed to be going nowhere fast. Their hypnotic vibe was well-received and a good complement to Interpol’s sound, however the vocals were so buried it was difficult to know if this sound was intentional or a mistake of the soundman. Still, they were good enough to want to check them out on CD.
Which is where this writer will be listening to Interpol.
Interpol photo by Wendy Lynch