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Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Interpol [2015]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Interpol live at Bluesfest 2015

Artist: Interpol
When: July 18, 2015
Where: Claridge Homes stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Context: I had been following this New York-based indie rock band for well over a decade by the time 2015 rolled around. Interpol were easily my preferred out of all the post-punk revivalists and their first two records are still among my favourite of the 2000s. Founding bassist, Carlos Dengler had left the band five years prior (in 2010) but the remaining trio of Paul Banks (vocals, guitar), Daniel Kessler (guitars), and Sam Fogarino (drums)* were still (and still are) very much a going concern. In fact, they had just put out “El pintor” the previous year, perhaps their best album in a decade. After initial a wave here and a smile there, pleasantries dispensed, they started in like gangbusters, a sonic assault of angular guitars and booming basslines, and Paul Banks’ iconic deep vocals, often lying in wait in the weeds and layers of synths. It was a powerful set and loud, mixing new and old seamlessly. Interestingly, they went to the well of 2004’s “Antics” quite often, digging out favourites like “Narc”, “Evil”, “Take you on a cruise”, “C’mere”, “Not even jail”, and finishing off the whole works with “Slow hands”. I especially appreciated the passionate and crazed rendition of recent single, “All the rage back home”, a personal favourite. I think my only critique of the set was that at around fifty minutes, partially due to an act finishing up late on the other stage, it all felt way too short. Still, Interpol!!!!

Point of reference song: All the rage back home

Sam Fogarino of Interpol
Daniel Kessler of Interpol
Paul Banks of Interpol
Brandon Curtis and Brad Truax, touring members
Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, and Sam Fogarino

*They were joined on stage by touring bassist Brad Truax and Brandon Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) on keys.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #7 Interpol “PDA”

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“You’re so cute when you’re frustrated, dear
Well, you’re so cute when you’re sedated, dear
I’m resting”

“PDA” is not the first track from Interpol’s debut album to grace this list. “Obstacle 1” came in earlier at number twenty-seven and yeah, I feel like there’s a few other songs from “Turn on the bright lights” that could just as easily belong here. Interpol really did burst into the indie world with this album, leading the charge, nay, almost singlehandedly restarting a post-punk revival, a revolution of sorts.

The quartet of Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Carlos Dengler and Greg Drudy originally formed Interpol five years earlier in 1997, but Sam Fogarino replaced Drudy on drums shortly after the release of their first EP, “Fukd ID #3”, in 2000. They have since released six full-length albums and a bunch of EPs and still continue today as a trio (Dengler departed the group in 2010). And though I’ve found their latter day albums not quite as phenomenal as their first couple, I saw them live for the first time in 2015 and their energy, rather than growing tired over the years, was exactly for which you would have hoped when listening to their records.

“PDA”, is actually a re-recording of a re-recording from that aforementioned first EP and it was released as the very first single off “Turn on the bright lights”. The drums crash and explode and then, the guitars burst in, just as percussive and just as menacing. Banks is shaky and neurotic, invoking the haunting memory of Ian Curtis. Yeah, it’s been said before but I feel like the comparison is never more true than on this particular track. It is intense and dark and heartbreaking and exhilarating.

Just press play below and listen to the song.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #25 Interpol “Obstacle 1”

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In a post on the number five song on my Best tunes of 2001 list, The Strokes’ “Last nite”, I wrote about how that band was at the vanguard of an indie rock revival. Then, two songs later with The White Stripes’ “Fell in love with a girl”, I spoke about how this revival was led by two very distinct scenes: one in Detroit and the other in New York City. Many of the bands that came out of the latter scene cut their teeth playing in a now defunct club called The Luna Lounge, much like many a post-punk outfit in the same city did in another long-since-closed club called CBGB. Indeed, Manhattan and the burroughs saw lots of musical action in the years following the turn of the millennium, giving rise to bands like the aforementioned Strokes, Ambulance LTD, Longwave, Stellastarr, Bishop Allen, and of course, Interpol.

I couldn’t tell you exactly when I first heard the post-punk revivalist quartet but I certainly remember when I first decided I liked them. It was definitely not too long after the release of their debut, “Turn on the bright lights”, because we were living in the ‘hood* and we had the use of my mother-in-law’s car. The green cavalier would eventually became ours in an unofficial sense but for a couple years there, we took turns with my brother-in-law in possessing it. During my commutes to work around the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003, I had discovered the local university and college radio stations and on one of these afternoon drives home, I realized that one of the aspiring DJs had decided to forego a real playlist and had just set Interpol’s debut to play from beginning to end. And yeah, while driving the heavy traffic up the Vanier parkway, it just clicked.

“Obstacle 1” follows “Untitled” as track two on the album and if the first song serves as an intro, our song today is the exclamation point. It’s all staccato guitars and bass, frontman Paul Banks’ deep and foreboding vocals, clearing up whether those Joy Division comparisons are fair or overwrought. You don’t get much more angular and austere than here, but we’re not just rehashing and reviving a too long dormant genre but breathing in new life and energy. Great tune on an incredible debut.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.

* For those unfamiliar with Ottawa, Vanier is a part of the city just on the other side of the Rideau river from downtown. It was at the time a lower income neighbourhood that was constantly under threat of regentrificafion due to its location and wasn’t our first choice of areas to live but the rent was affordable. Truth be told, only sections of it were bad and the one in which we lived wasn’t really one of those so the term ‘hood is one of endearment.