Interpol at the Royal Albert Hall
New York City alternative rockers Interpol play the Royal Albert Hall tonight, the band’s first time performing in the historic venue.
As they appear on stage in signature black suits, bar drummer Sam Fogarino, the haunting soundscape Interlude 2 (Marauder, 2018) befits the group’s moody vibe, an image they’ve garnered over nearly two decades. Pioneer to the Falls (Our Love to Admire, 2007) is tonight’s delicate opener and immediate highlight, guitarist Daniel Kessler’s chilling riffs a precursor to the show’s latter songs, hissing dry ice and strobe lights flashing, while frontman Paul Banks’s baritone vocals produce nostalgic shivers. An interesting track choice, the rendition of If You Really Love Nothing is a pounding and distinctly different arrangement from the sombre melancholia Interpol are known for, often compared to British post-punk band Joy Division.
Continuing with punchy verve – following a false start – Say Hello to the Angels, from 2002’s seminal album Turn on the Bright Lights, show Banks’s vocals on top form, as he delivers the speedy chorus with ease. Second highlight of the set Public Pervert (Antics, 2004) proves the group are at their peak, easily delving into older tracks while showcasing new songs with unadulterated passion and focus.
Interpol sustain the set with fortitude, Banks thanking fans, clearly humbled, stating: “What a great honour to be here, this is an amazing, wonderful place.” All the Rage Back Home (El Pintor, 2014) posits the band again as hardy rockers, while NYC contrasts these feelings of euphoria, a hark to their lyrics echoing loneliness and displacement. The Rover and Complications are backed by Kessler’s carefully crafted riffs, but are not stand-out tracks compared to other earlier memorable refrains, like Leif Erikson and Rest My Chemistry, both lyrically and musically striking. Audience favourite, and another highlight, Slow Hands reaffirms Interpol as a group that makes you dance, then sit solemnly with the slowed rhythmic tempo and dancehall bass line of Take You on a Cruise, followed by the immediately recognisable reverberating bass of Evil, crimson red light enveloping all.
Obstacle 1 completes the encore, invigorating fans who for the most part have been static, apart from a select few at the front. Interpol certainly know how to play music, but the performance would have fared even better if they moved more on stage. As much as the musicians are developing their style, the older tracks stand in good stead, instilled with a lush nostalgia that works excellently in the hall, paving their way as the debonair kings of indie rock.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Interpol’s website here.
Watch the video for If You Really Love Nothing here: