You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Concert Review: Interpol Revisit Beloved Debut Album on 15th Anniversary Run

Interpol let the music do the talking on Friday night (Sept. 1) as the band celebrated the 15th anniversary of “Turn On The Bright Lights” at London’s Alexandra Palace. The 2002 debut release launched the New York scenesters onto an international stage, though they have been largely absent from it in recent years. Perhaps that’s why the few words spoken by frontman Paul Banks were to thank the sold-out crowd. The show is one of several worldwide performances.

When “Turn On The Bright Lights” emerged onto the New York scene in the wake of debuts from the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, there was an immediate comparison of Interpol to post-punk acts like Joy Division. Banks’ monotone vocals, in particular, suggested a worship of Ian Curtis. But seeing Interpol unfurl the album’s 11 tracks today revealed a stronger punk inclination than was apparent on the recorded version – or even during those earlier shows. As the band, which included former Secret Machines’ bassist Brandon Curtis on keys, launched into “Obstacle 1,” the second track on the album, an edgy, unpolished vibe slid into the instrumentals, an infectious energy building through the packed venue. “Hands Away,” too, felt raw and thunderous.

As the musicians reached the album’s end, lingering over “Roland” with hypnotic lights and beats, a strange phenomenon became apparent. The members of Interpol – notably absent of former bassist Carlos D, who is not part of the anniversary celebration – hardly moved, backlit as they stood stoically through the set. Like England’s shoe-gaze greats, a frenetic energy and momentum was felt despite their lack of movement.

The band concluded their live performance of the album with “The Specialist,” a track that appeared on Interpol’s 2002 self-titled EP and was included as a bonus track on international editions of “Turn On The Bright Lights.” As the song faded, Banks thanked the crowd again and the band exited the stage with no fanfare or explanation. They returned for a second set of hits, including “Slow Hands” and “All The Rage Back Home,” but there was nary a mention of celebration of the concert’s intended purpose, despite the fact that excerpts of Lizzy Goodman’s recent book chronicling the NYC scene of the early 2000s, “Meet Me In The Bathroom,” were handed out outside the venue.

There was also no introduction for new track “Real Life,” presumably from Interpol’s forthcoming sixth album, which is intended for release next year on Matador. The mid-tempo, rhythmic number was nestled in between “Slow Hands” and “Lights,” and segued seamlessly with the older material.

The 90-minute show concluded with “Evil,” a track from 2004’s “Antics” that remains one of Interpol’s finest moments. There, at the very end, the 30-plus-aged crowd finally found its collective voice and sang along, a reminder that Interpol is a band centered on building moods not verse-driven radio singles.

The song was a final punctuating punch, but certainly not the show’s sonic peak. Interpol, who spent the entire concert at attention and in silhouette, don’t need to rely on popular singles or catchy hooks. Their best moments come unexpectedly, on tracks like jammed-out “Turn On The Bright Lights” closer “Leif Erikson,” when vibe and energy led the way. If there’s a term in music physics for the creation of motion with no movement, it could be called Interpolian.

Interpol performs at London's Alexandra Palace on Sept. 1.

More Music

  • Phil McIntyre Steps Down as Roc

    Phil McIntyre Steps Down From Roc Nation Management, but Remains Affiliated With Company

    Phil McIntyre has stepped down as president of Roc Nation Management, but his PhilyMack management company remains affiliated with Roc, a source close to the situation tells Variety. PhilyMack, which McIntyre founded in 2006, partnered with Roc Nation in 2015. The source stressed that McIntyre’s role at Roc Nation Management  — whose clients include Rihanna, [...]

  • Miley Cyrus performs during the "I

    Metallica, Miley Cyrus and a Reunited Soundgarden Pay Tribute to Chris Cornell

    Metallica, Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine headlined an all-star lineup honoring the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell at a mammoth five-hour tribute concert in Los Angeles Wednesday. Mixing rock n’ roll with elements of pop, punk and stripped-down acoustics, the sold-out event was a journey through Cornell’s decades-long career and a [...]

  • Hikaru Utada to Perform 'Kingdom Hearts'

    Hikaru Utada to Perform 'Kingdom Hearts' Songs in PlayStation VR

    PlayStation VR owners can catch a special performance from Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada starting on Friday, Jan. 18, according to the PlayStation Blog. Filmed at the Yokohama Arena, the “Hikaru Utada Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018 – ‘Hikari’ & ‘Chikai’ – VR” features two songs from the “Kingdom Hearts” franchise — “Simple and Clean” [...]

  • Heather Parry Live Nation

    Live Nation Investigation of Heather Parry Also Targets Leakers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Over the past two weeks, the law firm of Paul Hastings LLP has been probing allegations reported by Variety last month that Heather Parry, the head of Live Nation Productions, had verbally abused employees and used offensive language in the workplace. But the lead investigator, Elena Baca, seems to be just as interested in uncovering [...]

  • Gladys Knight

    Gladys Knight to Sing National Anthem at Super Bowl

    The Super Bowl just got more soulful. Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem during Super Bowl LIII. The seven-time Grammy-winner’s performance will take place during the pre-game festivities and be televised live on CBS before the game’s kickoff. Related Concert Review: Bryan Ferry With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra “I am proud to use my [...]

  • Maren Morris

    Maren Morris Reveals Dates for Massive Tour Supporting New Album, 'Girl'

    Maren Morris today announced dates for her headlining to in support of her forthcoming sophomore album, “Girl.” The tour launches in Chicago on March 9 and features country artists Cassadee Pope and RaeLynn in support. Tickets for the general on-sale will begin Tuesday, January 22 at 10 a.m. local time. Citi is the official presale credit card [...]

  • Grammy Awards60th Annual Grammy Awards, Press

    Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Post Malone, More to Perform at Grammy Awards

    The Recording Academy announced the first group of artists to perform on this year’s 61st annual Grammy Awards: nominees Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Dan + Shay, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monáe, and Kacey Musgraves. The big show will be hosted by Alicia Keys and broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET 5 p.m. PT [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content