Emerging to a hopeful crowd, composed, sharp suits adorned. A moody, deep red emanates from the stage, silhouetting the members of the band with understated intensity, echoing the now unmistakeable artwork of Interpol’s seminal album debut, ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’. An album that marks the beginning of one the most important sounds of the 00’s post-punk revival, and a chilling reminder of the paranoia, uncertainty, and confusion endured in a post-9/11 New York City.
Celebrating 15 years since the albums inception, London’s Alexandra Palace provided all the regal grandeur that Interpol so cooly personify in their appearance. An imposing backdrop from which to pay just homage to their crucial 11-track masterpiece. As the opening guitar riff of ‘Untitled’ washes over the crowd, the anticipation in the room erupts into raucous applause, simmering down in time for the baritone of Paul Banks to unfold, raw, and passionate.
Lights burst into white as ‘Obstacle 1’ shifts the mood from quiet complacency, to the realms of angst. Guitars weave in distorted complexity, the drums heavy and ‘Bank’s voice coarse, despite being the hallmarks of a more rugged and grungy disposition, the sounds meld with focus and conviction.
This trend continues as the performance deepens. The band remain stoic and unmoving, their presence felt through the purposeful melancholia of each lyric and instrumental breakdown. Even during the heavier tracks of the album showcase - ‘PDA’ inciting swathes of fans to sing in unison, eyes closed, heads nodding rhythmically, entranced. ‘Roland’s’ grit paralleled with more erratic crowd gesturing and fist pumps - Interpol remained fixed, never straying from formation, accentuating their control of the room without the need for showy on-stage antics.
Closing out the first half of the show hardcore Interpolers were treated to dusty b-side ‘Specialist’, a tidy flourish to a stylish, yet familiar, full-album performance. Then with a simple, yet gratifying “thank you”, the band disappeared into the wings, ready to pave the way with a crescendo of greatest hits for the encore.
‘The Heinrich Manoeuvre’, ‘Slow Hands’, and ‘All The Rage Back Home’ all made the final cut with time afforded to the band’s newest track ‘Real Life’; gruelling and ominous, more attuned to their earlier material crafted in the peak of the panic-stricken noughties. With a universal sense of a comeback well executed, smiles and cheers abundant, Interpol bellowed out their most notorious hit ‘Evil’. Accompanied with a crowd strong backing vocal, a warm and unified end to a stellar evening was assured.
The band unwavering, the crowd mesmerised, the visuals precise. Interpol succeed in recreating the tone, depth and resonance of a classic album very much of its time, bolstered by a titillating snapshot of what’s to come on their hugely anticipated sixth studio release.
Photography courtesy of Graham Joy .