Interpol House of Blues October 3, 2014
Interpol is, at least in theory, a gem.
Heavily influenced by British post-punk, the New York-based quartet-turned-trio remains an indie-rock band at heart more than a decade into its spotty career, one that was arguably never supposed to be as successful as it has become. Since the release of their debut album, however, Interpol have been a prominent topic in pop culture, praised by diehard fans even during their creative missteps and heavily criticized by bloggers whose ears their music was never intended to reach.
The buzz surrounding the release of last month's El Pintor, the group's first album in four years and most critically acclaimed release since 2002 debut Turn on the Bright Lights, was palpable, owing to a return to the beloved sounds of that first album. Seemingly within minutes of going on sale, their Houston date sold out.
But for all the excitement, much of the crowd was apathetic Friday night; overly chatty for most of the show and reluctant to be drawn in by the band's gloomy aesthetic. Perhaps Interpol is a better band in theory than in practice, or maybe fans need to eschew the hype and better manage their expectations.
Like many breakthrough indie bands of the early 2000s, Interpol has received more attention than they likely ever intended. And this has caused a few problems, notably in the way concertgoers receive their music.
Interpol doesn't do confetti. At their shows, fans won't find themselves laughing at onstage antics or caught up in vocalist Paul Banks' banter with the crowd. Instead, Interpol's shows remain geared toward their most fanatic admirers, seamlessly transitioning from song to song and packing as much music as possible into their time onstage.
During the likes of "NYC," as the band's instruments ebbed slightly allowing the crowd's unified chants to echo through the venue, it was clear who Interpol was performing for.
And those fans didn't care about how damning any review of the band's work has been; they were there for Interpol, and the band responded in kind, treating the audience to a wide range of cuts off each of their five albums along with an minimalist light show.
"Thanks so much," Banks said nearly 90 minutes in. "That's all we've got.
"You guys were awesome," he continued, waving goodbye to the crowd that had noticeably thinned out. "We'll see you next time."
And yes, those of us who stayed until the end will surely be back for more.
Story continues on the next page.
Personal Bias: Even Interpol's creative miscues were more entertaining than most of the alternatives. Despite a few misses, they've remained interesting enough to always keep me coming back curious.
The Crowd: I'll even admit to feeling a bit gleeful that the two yuppies behind me were disappointed that the band "didn't play any of their good songs."
Overheard In the Crowd: "What is with all the old people here? I'm so over this."
My Blue Supreme Say Hello to the Angels Evil Hands Away My Desire Take You on a Cruise Breaker 1 The Lighthouse Anywhere Narc Same Town, New Story Lights Not Even Jail Slow hands
All the Rage Back Home NYC Stella Was a Diver, and She Was Always Down
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.