¬†Tonight’s intimate Interpol show is a far cry from the last time I’d seen the band at Bowery when they opened (gasp!) for Ash, months before Turn on the Bright Lights was even released. Back then, they filled the room with a super-tight crowd of in-the-know New Yorkers. Tonight’s audience, in contrast, is a testament to the band’s current far-reaching status. They now draw fans of all ages, including college kids who’d flown in from states as far as Florida, or who paid hundreds for scalped tickets for a chance to see Interpol on this small, hometown stage.

I’ve had the chance to hear an advance of Our Love to Admire and I’m already addicted to opening track, “Pioneer To The Falls”, which made for a sultry and intense first song, given its nearly six-minute length and dark, old-world, French cafe vibe. There’s something illicit and majestic about the shady corners and elegant reach of “Pioneer”. It set the mood for the night, allowing the older hits in the set to unfold as if upon fresh ears.

Since the new album won’t be here until July, the band obviously thought it best to give fans a gift of well-known hits. Thus, the set list tonight is dotted with only a chosen few new songs (including the catchy, uptempo single “The Heinrich Maneuver”, which most have already heard online).

Interpol seemed genuinely happy to be playing Bowery Ballroom again. Though they’re not an overly gushing band, singer Paul Banks made it a point to thank the audience not just once, but a few times, telling us “We love you” before the encore and bidding adieu with “It’s was great to be here with all of our friends and super fans tonight.”

There were a few moments when their serious masks were dropped and the band couldn’t help but show a bit of joy. There was also some sweet interaction between Banks and suave guitarist Dan Kessler, and moments between gentleman drummer Sam Fogarino (in white shirt, tie and trilby) and bassist Carlos D (style gone classy, dark West). Banks had to laugh when a girl shouted out “That’s a pretty hot guitar” as soon as he donned a shiny, black Flying V for the encore of “Length of Love” (the song with Kessler’s amazing Clinic-esque guitar intro). The whole band seemed duly pleased to hear the crowd start to sing along with “Rosemary…” at the top of “Evil”.

Top set picks tonight were: “Pioneer To The Falls”, “Slow Hands”, “PDA”, “Length of Love”, “Stella was a Diver…” and “Obstacle 1″. Interpol’s fired-up performance was quite a way to get fans primed for the onslaught of their upcoming album. –MVW