New York’s own post-punk torch bearers Interpol played a no-holds barred show for themselves and an appreciative gathering of friends and lucky 11th-hour ticketholders at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night in celebration of the release of their self-titled fourth studio album on Tuesday. Opening with “Success,” a romantic slow-burning highlight from the album, and then launching into hit-strewn, for-the-fans set that was both unexpected and unbelievable. Famously reticent and never showy lead singer Paul Banks didn’t feel the need to address the audience until just before the fourth song, the new and amazing “Summer Well,” when he mentioned what a pleasure it was to be back in New York and playing this “secret show.”

The always cathartic “Rest My Chemistry” from 2007’s Our Love to Admire was a sublime segue into Antics’ “Evil,” with refrains bathed in absinthe-hued lights, and a perfect chance to try out the latest single, “Barricade,” a gem that boasts Banks’ clever disclosure, “I did not take to analysis/So I had to make up my mind.” This led to “Lights,” which got the crowd clapping in unison as if ready to take back the arenas, the band, likewise, with Bauhausian guitar flourishes courtesy of crazy-legged Daniel Kessler and Sam Fogarino’s thunderous drums causing the crowd to swoon with pleasure. Blinding white, flashing lights were the eye of the storm of the old-school stomper “Stella,” before classical piano rises gave way to the new “Try it On,” and its resonant under-the-skin bound poetry. Afterwards it was time for another hit, (so they said), ushering in “Obstacle 1” with flashing red; indeed, they are stabbing words to mimic the play on one’s neck. Main set closer “Not Even Jail” came through in epic proportion, as if the band was trying to out-do themselves to see just how big and far they could make it.

By now you’ve seen their new press photo, with core members Banks, Fogarino and Kessler shown laughing and joking around. This show had that type of sentiment: a palpable “play to entertain, play to the fans” attitude, without the pretensions shown in a few of their bigger shows in the past. The awkward, though rousing 2007 show at Madison Square Garden notwithstanding. New bassist Dave Pajo doesn’t yet have the pizzazz of Carlos Dengler, but he seems solid and able; perhaps still not able to believe the fact he’s been inducted into such a stellar band.

Encore “NYC” was the perfect and tidally poignant welcome back; an ode to their city on the eve of 9/11, a lingering, slowed-down, romantic dirge of sentiment for those no longer walking the messy pavement, and the rest of us who look for, and find, rebirth in the streets every chance we get.

Interpol has a soul that (finally) feels all fired up, and it looks good on them. The clothes don’t make the band, the attitude does, and if last night’s bravura and genuinely passionate performance is anything to go by, these ultra-serious (and often dangerously dour) guys might just enjoy the ride for once. –Madeline Virbasius with Carrie Alison, Photos by Carrie Alison

  1. [...] their official website’s blog is any indication, Interpol is all fired up and ready to keep a good thing going well into 2011. Additional tour dates begin January 27th in Vancouver and wrap February 19th [...]