Live Reviews

Interpol – Live

London Astoria

It’s never the most satisfying of experiences to play to a half-full venue, and tonight, The Maccabees‘ urgent, choppy post-punk attack is initially met with relative indifference from a crowd who are largely here for one band only. Still, the Brighton quintet give it their all, and can count the applause they receive at the end of their set as a small victory against the odds.

With forthcoming album ‘Our Love To Admire‘ rumoured to be their best yet, and two nights at the Alexandra Palace already confirmed for November, it looks like venues as intimate as the Astoria will soon be distant memories for Interpol. They take stage dimly bathed in blue lights, and as the opening notes of ‘Pioneer To The Falls‘ ring across the auditorium, they set the tone for the evening.

However, it’s not a tone of despondency, but of intimacy. On record, Interpol may come across as a dark, slightly morbid bunch, but onstage tonight, they’re clearly delighted to be able to engage with the audience in a manner that an arena just wouldn’t allow. Whilst singer/guitarist Paul Banks is largely happy to stay anchored by his microphone, bassist Carlos D and Dan Kessler are hopping and dancing around stage to the taut post-punk rhythm of ‘Slow Hands‘, ‘Obstacle 1‘ and future classic ‘The Heinrich Maneuver‘. Is that a smile we see on Carlos’ face as the crowd sing along en masse to the anthemic chorus of ‘Evil’? Those many Joy Division comparisons of old seem increasingly inadequate.

The devoted fans in attendance may know just about every song inside out, but there’s still a strong surprise element in the fact that Interpol have never looked so comfortable in the live setting. They may prefer their stages darkened, but they’re going to have to get used to the limelight.

Alex Gosman