Sunday, February 20, 2011

Turn Off The Bright Lights

For their last tour, H1 and I had tickets to Interpol's show at Madison Square Garden.  Unfortunately, we missed it and it was one of our biggest concert-going regrets.

A chance at redemption to see the band at a nice venue for the new album and tour presented itself on Thursday last.

Interpol at Radio City Music Hall
But, there were potential snafus and reservations from the start.  With Carlos D. no longer a member of Interpol (as much as a jerk he appeared to be to me), it felt somewhat sad.  Sure he seemed an ass and some may claim, "he's just a bassist - who cares?".  Yes, that's a statement I do not agree with.  I've enjoyed their music for some time now and as a band, Interpol did not make albums without him.  Their sound is the sum of all parts involved, damn it. 

And how sad it was, as I have mentioned before, that on this their final album with Carlos D's involvement that it was the bass that should shine through the most.  The bass lines were heavy, prominent and really set the tone for the melancholy heart-felt sound of the album.

That said, on this album, there were some really great tracks but not the best work they've had.  And as much as I love Interpol, I know not to expect some crazy light show or incredibly exciting concert.  They're not a high-energy band but their songs are fantastic and heavy on emotion.

At the very least, I expect a concert of theirs to sound great and be relaxing with a bit of fun on the catchier tracks.  I especially expected them to sound superb at Radio City Music Hall being the venue that it was, right? Sadly, it was not entirely so...

The Interpol @ Radio City Music Hall on 02/17/2011 Set List:

Hands Away
Rest My Chemistry
Say Hello To The Angels
Summer Well
Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down
The Heinrich Maneuver
Memory Serves
Obstacle 1


The Lighthouse
The New
Slow Hands
Not Even Jail

The Lowlamps:

A venue this pretty should make everything sound and look pretty, right? Right?
1. The sound.  At the start of Interpol's set, H1 and I don't know what the heck was going on with Paul's voice.  Really, he sounded terrible! After the second song, things were better.  However, H1 and I were surprised that the entire sound was not as wowing as we thought it should have been.  There were moments of greatness in clarity but at other times there was a meshing of indistinguishable sound and drowning.

2. School of Seven Bells.  It's true that we have discovered a couple of great support bands in our concert history but for the most part, this is the kind of rubbish we are usually met with.  This band, like most other bad ones we have seen, needs to get rid of their lead singer.  As H1 best put it, her vocals were not unique and also had an air of fluffy, self-indulgence to it.

School of Seven Whatevers.  Photo and Re-named band courtesy of Bobolinkies
3. The crowd.  Maybe we just have a knack for being a horrible section but this was probably the worst crowd ever.  If they weren't lifeless, they were serious jerks.  Radio City is a seated venue, so when the group of girls directly in front of me decided to call their friends over to join them, essentially cluttering seats that were not theirs.  In turn, those bitches blocked me.  I could barely see having already had not bad seats but not great seats either.  It was a true annoyance and proves just how self-centered people can be.  I really should have called security to check their tickets and have their asses hauled out of there.  That's the kind of stupid behaviour I have to expect at concerts - people who push you out of the way in a standing pit and get in front of you.  But to have it done at seating assignments really just made my night worse.

Then there was the guy with the fockets.  What's a focket you may ask? Well the man has coined a new term for a fake pocket.  He was an obnoxious idiot, who was loud and trying his best to impress some girl who was incredibly dim.  I think he was the focket - with two kinder letters in place of the ones I really want to use.

3. No camera.  My trusty point and shoot LO died a horrible death some time last year.  I'm not sure what happened but the lens got jammed.  I have at least had H1's camera to back us up on our ventures but not tonight.  H1 forgot her camera! This is the worst of our concert pictures because we had to rely on our phones.  ::sniff::  However, we have to thank Bobolinkies for her efforts as well.  She was in a different section which was closer and tried to take pics too.

Photo credit: Bobolinkies.  You can sort of make out Paul's bad haircut.
4. The one girl who pranced on to the stage at the end of the concert, hugged Paul and managed to prance right off.  Concert security completely failed that.  Paul kept his cool and kept playing without missing a beat but I'm sure it must have been scary for him.  He could have been stabbed or shot and I would have cried if anything went down.  It was just like that time I was distraught to hear that Dimebag had been shot to death at a show.

5. The freaking blue lights on stage.  Man! They ruined every already bad shot I tried to take! Next time, turn off the bright lights.  Much appreciated.

Some where amongst those bright blue lights is a band called Interpol.
6. This is not concert related but I should have known things would not go smoothly for us when H1 and I tried to go for dinner at Totto Ramen and did not succeed.  The line was too long, the place was too tiny and the waiter was too bitchy.  We did manage to have Shake Shack instead which was great as usual but again, the Theatre District location is such a downer because of asshats who have zero manners.

The Highlights

1. Sam - I had the good fortune of being able to see Sam's drumming very clearly.  Drummers are impressive people and watching him play was a treat.  There were some complicated impressive beats from my vantage point.

2. Kessler - He was dancing to the beats, and rocking that guitar like nothing.  It was a joy to see him even if I did laugh remembering that time when I saw the video when he uh, was a bit too enthusiastic and fell on stage.  Heh.  It was cool though because he's so into it.  The guitar sound was often beautifully haunting when it was focused on.

3. Paul Banks is ah duttyness.  I think TD5, H1 and I have always enjoyed that sort of dirty quality to his voice, his lyrics and his delivery.  And at the concert? Phew! Talk about dirty!!!! TD5, you would have loved "Stella..."

4. The set list.  I do have a complaint and that was that no "Pioneer to the Falls" was played.  Ugh.  Why guys?! Otherwise, there were a lot of surprises there.  "Stella..."! Sorry TD5, I know you're cursing us as you should.  I enjoyed the ramped up, sharper, faster beat version of "Say Hello to Angels" that they played.  "The Lighthouse" though? I never expected that because it's just so dull even though I really do love that the history behind the song and the song itself.  Still, in a concert setting...again, why guys, why?

Overall, it was not one of the better concerts we have been to with all factors involved and I think the experience of Interpol would have been much better had we been up close and personal.  A smaller, intimate venue would have been more welcome for them, I feel.  Still, when it sounded good it was actually great and I am happy we finally were afforded the opportunity to see them.


  1. Thanks for the review. I'm beginning to think a lot of acts are using the blue lights to kill the photography and piracy issues. In my heart of heart, I wanted Stella to be on the set list and of course, it was YAY!!!

    They're still one of my favorite bands currently. Here is hoping to my catching them at another time and hopefully you two would be there!!

  2. Hmm, that's an interesting observation. I hate those stinking blue lights!!!! These were particulary horrid.

    Hahaha, nice one "in your heart of hearts".

    I do love them despite the not so great experienceh. I hope we can see them together. Maybe some time this year? Who knows!

    wv: demgxa

  3. THe Blog says this concert could have been swetr and it would be right. Paul did not sound as good as I thought he would in there.

    wv: swetr.

    - H1

  4. Bwahahaha! In response to your comment H1, the blog says "precial". Precisely? Or did was the blog finding its last comment special? Not sure.

    wv: precial

  5. I am not sure who the Blog is talking about but it is certainly not me.

    wv: Bratie

    - H1


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