Interpol, Take Two
Interpol, with Liars
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I have to start this review with a little background. Interpol's first album, Turn On The Bright Lights, is probably my favorite album of the last ten years. So when I saw them live for the first time three years ago at the Curiosa Festival in Nashville, I was a little bummed. I'd never had one of my favorite bands not also put on a good live show, and their set that day definitely did not impress. I found myself offering a myriad of excuses for them... they don't translate well in an ampitheater setting. Their music isn't suited for playing during the daylight. It was hot, and they were wearing suits. But the basic fact was that on July 28, 2004, they just weren't... well, good.
So on Saturday night, my feelings during and after their show were equal parts joy and relief. It turns out that Interpol is indeed a pretty good live band. "Pioneer To The Falls" probably wouldn't have been my choice for an opener, but following it up with "Obstacle 1" set the tone for a show that seemed to build in intensity from beginning to end. The setlist pulled pretty much equally from all three of their albums, and the lighting matched the mood of their music perfectly. Seeing the band live, you really notice that most of the band's muscle emanates from Sam Fogarino; the guy is a monster drummer. And while Paul Banks and Carlos D. aren't the most active performers, Daniel Kessler makes up for it by moving around the stage in a style that can best be described as "sashaying" (one of my friends described it less gracioiusly as "annoying"). The highlight of the set for me came during "Leif Erikson," a reminder that the only thing I love more than e-bowed guitar is TWO e-bowed guitars.
Interpol - "Mammoth" (mp3) from Our Love To Admire
Interpol - "Not Even Jail (Daniel Kessler Remix)" (mp3) from the Remix EP
As for Liars... I really wanted to like them. They had all the ingredients of a band that I SHOULD dig, but they never gave me anything to grab onto. I kept hoping that an actual song would eventually immerge from the noise, but it never really happened. Honestly, I came pretty close to hating it, but they were saved from that classification by one of two songs that their guitarist sang lead on, the Jesus and Mary Chain inspired "Freak Out." I was told that their set at Grimey's that afternoon was like seeing a completely different band (Janet at Out The Other wrote about it here). Maybe I'd have liked that version of the band more, but I definitely wasn't feeling them at the Ryman.
photo by Marcela Cisneros