Interpol | 05.11.15

live interpol_75We were fabulously treated to more of a greatest-hits set list, heavy with songs from Turn on the Bright Lights.

live interpol

The Pageant, St. Louis

2014’s El Pintor is somewhat of a return to the post-punk form Interpol perfected on 2002’s Turn on the Bright Lights and 2004’s Antics. It is surprising that, with the amount of praise the new album received, the band played so little of it at their show tonight. With this being the second leg of a tour to support El Pintor, one would expect more than one or two songs from it; instead, we were fabulously treated to more of a greatest-hits set list, heavy with songs from Turn on the Bright Lights. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in attendance who was sorely disappointed in the set composed of so many of their more well-known songs, live standards, and deeper cuts.

And the band not only played these songs, but emphatically tore through them. Front man Paul Banks sounded fantastic and looked emotionally invested in his delivery all night. The interplay between Banks’ guitar work and that of main guitarist Daniel Kessler was great to watch. They showed that you do not need to play the fastest or hardest riffs or the loudest chords to sound great or evoke an emotional response. Special note for the sometimes [wonderfully] 1980s amateurish and sometimes bad acid trippy video and pictures that played in the background through most of their set. It fit the music very well and added to the overall tone of the music.

Show opener Algiers got the night started with a somber, emotional, and all-around fantastic set. The press release on these guys calls them the “Death Grips of gospel,” and, yes, that’s about right. Franklin James Fisher is one helluva front man—passionate, charismatic, emotional, and talented—and carries a voice that demands your immediate attention. They are the sound of the disillusioned youth who are tired of the social and economic injustices in this country, but with a twinge of spirituality. Their songs resonate deeply this haunting view of things. Musically, they lean more toward post-punk–meets–Kraftwerk, but are not afraid to blend in soul and gospel aspects. They fully commit to their songs on stage. Bassist Ryan Mahan is especially immersed in this totally genuine image. His almost militaristic marching and stomping was the antithesis of Fisher’s calculated, more laidback movements, yet both said the same thing. This is seriously a band to watch. By the end of their set, so many in the audience were just blown away by them, myself included. Their self-titled debut comes out June 2. | Michael Koehler

Standout tracks from Interpol: “Say Hello to Angels,” “Hands Away,” “The New,” show closer “Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down” (best way for them to close!), “Evil,” “Take You On a Cruise,” “Slow Hands,” “Rest My Chemistry,” “All the Rage Back Home”

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