There’s something about the Enmore Theatre that lures universal bands to its stage. For Interpol’s front man Paul Banks, it’s the lovely awnings apparently. He stopped to compliment the theatre’s intricate architecture as he addressed the two thousand-strong audience before him on Tuesday night.
Thirteen years into their impressive yet tumultuous career, Interpol have come back down under in support of their self-titled comeback album. It’s a bitterly honest depiction of the confusion and exhaustion that goes hand in hand with success and had past and present fans alike chanting in evocative unison.
The sound was airtight, the set list contemporary and their instrumental execution impeccable, but admittedly the professionally appareled quintet came across as rather vacant and rigid on stage. The New York rockers leave much to be desired when it comes to live entertainment and awe-inspiring stage presence.
To me the crowd seemed rather motionless; though I’m not sure if that was indeed due to slight boredom or unfamiliarity of the new album or if I’m simply mistaking it for a sense of enthrallment caused by Interpol’s characteristically intense and beautifully dark sound.
Even though guitarist Daniel Kessler had me temporarily amused and ensnared by his incessant fancy footwork, judging by the audience’s general reception, not even his foot-shuffling efforts were enough to provoke a wave of mosh action.
Personally, I’m not fanatical about Interpol’s latest offering. I’m much more of an Antics (2004) admirer that saw the birth of brilliant tracks “Evil” and “Slow Hands”. Sure, the aura of heaviness and gorgeously melancholic elements that define Interpol are still firmly etched in the new album – particularly in “Success” and “Lights” – but rather than trudging through with that climatic intensity it sinks into what feels like a bleak, half-hearted black hole.
Naturally, I was thrilled to hear the primeval likes of “Narc”, “Say Hello To The Angels” and “The New” weaved into the set list, but this gig was certainly a showcase of the novel recordings so if you’re planning to catch Interpol live this year, be prepared for an onslaught of Interpol (2010) material. Anyhow, despite my opinion, the new album was released to critical acclaim this year and the patrons of the Enmore Theatre exited the venue speaking only words of praise and approval.