REVIEW: Interpol | 11.11.14 @ Marathon Music Works

Interpol-620

Interpol
w/ Hundred Waters
Marathon Music Works; Nashville, TN
November 11, 2014

Review by Philip Obenschain (@pobenschain).

After a two and a half year hiatus from performing, New York post-punk revivalists Interpol reawakened earlier this year, diving back into things headfirst with a new album, El Pintor, and extensive world tour plans. For their first Nashville date since the spring of 2011, the band passed through Marathon Music Works this week with Hundred Waters. As longtime fans, we had to check it out. Read on for our review!

I arrived too late to catch Hundred Waters, so I will only recount my take on the evening’s headliners. If my memory serves, my only other experience with Interpol came at a festival many years ago. I was obsessed with the group’s sophomore release, Antics, when it came out a decade ago, and soon became just as passionate about their debut, Turn on the Bright Lights. However, the setting in which I witnessed them live, and the album there were likely out in support of (2007’s somewhat less exciting Our Love to Admire) left me feeling a bit disappointed. It was probably more fatigue and the fact that I was in the back of a field than it was Interpol’s performance, but, still, I always wondered (and anxiously hoped) whether a proper club show would meet my expectations. And, though I’m disappointed I was not yet a Nashville resident when the group played The Ryman in 2011, I was still incredibly excited to see them play Marathon Music Works.

I was pleased to discover that, despite the departure of bassist Carols Dengler, a much-needed break seems to have served the band well. Performing with a confidence and energy that lit up the room, Interpol delivered a brisk, memorable set, part nostalgic and part forward-thinking. Though it drew heavily from their newest disc, the band knew where their fans’ nostalgia lies, and absolutely stacked their selections with songs from their first two releases, all but ignoring their mid-period Our Love to Admire and eponymous 2010 album. Backed by a live bassist and keyboard player/backing vocalist, the songs sounded full and electric, with the band’s signature hypnotic riffs and dance beats daring the crowd not to dance. It’s interesting to see the juxtaposition of the band’s melancholy sound with their cheery disposition, a dichotomy which has likely only grown as they age. Ever the humble frontman, Paul Banks delivered with a precision and seasoned expertise which exceeded even his show I caught two years ago at Mercy Lounge.

Bands like Interpol, who got swept up in the critical frenzy of early ’00s garage rock and post-punk mania, have not all aged gracefully. However, due to the strength of their songwriting, the emotional depth of their compositions, and the sheer talent within their playing, Interpol have managed to affect a somewhat elusive  quality of timelessness, and, perhaps, disappearing for a bit to allow fans to remember what they were missing has only strengthened their appeal. El Pintor is a solid comeback album, and its tracks breathed new life into the band in an effortless way. Of course, old favorites like “Evil,” “PDA,” and “Untitled” served as standout moments for my nostalgic heart, but, as a whole, there was no misstep and no loss of energy or chemistry throughout. It seems like Interpol are back for good, and, if you didn’t catch them the first time around, there’s never been a better opportunity.

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Setlist:

Say Hello to the Angels
My Blue Supreme
Anywhere
Evil
Hands Away
My Desire
Take You on a Cruise
Everything Is Wrong
Lights
Breaker 1
Untitled
Narc
Not Even Jail
Slow Hands

All the Rage Back Home
NYC
PDA

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