Roseland Theater, Portland
Saturday, January 29th, 2011
"Why did I pay $32 to see this," is the question I kept asking myself for months leading up to the show.
A little bit of background, I've seen Interpol three time previously. The first show was decent. The second show was same setlist, except they flipped two songs, which started my three year grudge with this band. This is the reason I'm working on a three year grudge with the Black Keys, who played the same setlist three times in three months recently in Portland. The third time I saw Interpol was at Sasquatch, and it is memorable for being the worst performance I've witnessed at the festival. After playing a half set (the main stage was shut down briefly due to heavy winds), they looked at each other like, "what should we play next," before deciding to end it. I was close to the stage, and their gestures and body language didn't suggest they ran out of time, it suggested they were cold, and ready to leave.
To answer the question of why I paid $32 ($39 with fees) to attend, a nameless well known website said Interpol's light show is amazing. That was enough for me because I'm such a fan of their earlier albums. Their debut Turn on the Bright Lights is one of my favorite albums of the aughts, and their second album Antics still gets heavy play. They were playing arenas on their previous tour, and now are back to playing clubs (this show barely sold out, capacity 1,500), meaning their popularity has dwindled. I thought maybe they would realize this and play a set heavy on their early material? They did! 11 of their 19 tracks were from their first two albums. I have much more respect for the band because of this.
One thing that stood out was that lead singer Paul Banks, sporting a mohwak, smiled occasionally, even addressed the crowd. Back in the day, part of their mystique was how stoic they were, and how full of themselves they appeared. It's nice to see them humble out a bit. Then again, their old bassist left the band, and their new bassist recently did the same, so they are probably pricks after all.
I can't write a review without taking a shot at the crowd, who overall, was pretty decent. I don't like making fun of people dancing, because most of us are terrible dancers, myself included. But I saw the worst female dancer I've ever witnessed. It was much worse than the Elaine dance from Seinfeld. I don't know really how to explain it, but I'll try. Imagine a mildly attractive female getting punched in the stomach with her knees locked, and her feet slowely pivoting outward, mixed with a slight head bang, and an occasional wing thrown out for effect, all while maintaning the, "I just got punched in the stomach," movements. I don't think I'll ever forget her awkwardness.
At that point of the show, they had played a lot of newer songs I didn't care for, but I realized there were several more they hadn't played that are my favorites. I quickly forgot about the terrible dance moves when Interpol played, "Slow Hands." This song always has, and always will make me jump up and down. It's something about the mellow breakdown leading up to the powerful chorus that always got me. They played all my other favorites after that, except "Roland," which they used to end their sets with. I was surprised they didn't play that. They also didn't play "Stella," my new least favorite song. When did this become such a crowd favorite that groups of people felt the need to scream the title between every song. It was fucking annoying at the least.
As for the light show the nameless website plugged, it sucked. It was annoying if anything. However, I'm glad I attended the show. It was like running into the old fling who you were nuts about who was terrible in bed, and giving her another chance, only to realize she's been rolling with Yeezy. That's probably too obscure for any of you to get, unless you are a Kanye fan. It's also too much of a compliment to Interpol. They didn't blow my mind at all, but they were much better than they were years ago. I'm glad I gave them one last chance.