Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gig review: Interpol

Gig Review: Interpol Edinburgh Corn Exchange, August 22 2007

Sigh. Here goes...

24 hours later, it wasn't a bad gig. It was the fifth time I have seen Interpol, and I'm really impressed that the band I saw as the second from the bottom on an NME package tour in early 2003 have broken through commercially to the extent that this venue was sold out and the albums are going top 10.

It wasn't a shambolic gig. Hell, they played for well over an hour and they sounded really together, almost too note perfect. They played songs from all of their three LPs, and there were elements that caught me by surprise: How funky they can sound at times. How some of their songs can be sung by huge crowds - time it was, over a thousand people singing along to this would have been as odd as people singing along to Elvis Costello's 'I Want You.'

It wasn't a waste of time, going to this gig...Yet somehow, the venue's sound system failed to do justice to the band. The band barely spoke to the audience at all -there is being cool, and there's being aloof.

So will I go and see Interpol again? Who knows. Their third album is no progression from their second, yet they have the potential to move on and produce something really great. Songs like 'Evil' and 'Narc' and 'NYC' particularly still impress on record. But somehow, that's not quite enough.

Interpol -'NYC.' mp3

Interpol -'The Heinrich Maneuver.' mp3

(And yes, that is how they spell Manouevre)


Anonymous said...

Interpol indifference seems to be spreading.I mean, I still like them but they seem to be becoming less relevant.

With the benefit of hindsight, would you rather have been at Sonic Youth, Ed? Not terribly funky but ear-shreddingly loud.


Ed said...

Hmm, possibly. I would have liked ot have been there, but the likelihood of being back to edinburgh before midnight then going off to teach meant I couldn't do it.

Ah, hindsight is a wondeful thing *sigh*

Colin said...

I have to say I would instantly forgive Interpol if they killed all my relatives, my cat and my overdraft in one fell swoop because they gave me/us/you the joy that is 'Untitled' and that entire first album (and I'm only being *slightly* playful here).

But, yes, a little audience interaction is just good manners.

In the early days they even used to thank people for coming out to see them (even before a note was played!)

Sigh. Fame.

Ed said...

I still love that first album, which is why I'm not writing them off entirely just yet...but they have got a lot of making up to do. How things change in just a few years...

The Pop Cop said...

Hey Ed,

was at that gig, was pleasantly surprised by how slick they were - not much chat but they can pull off the subtleties of their albums, even though I only ever listen to the first one these days.

BTW, I co-run a Scottish music blog called The Pop Cop ( - we've got a link to 17 Seconds if you fancy returning the favour.

Also, as a wee tip, you should check out Beerjacket from Glasgow ( - he's the business.

Ed said...

always great to hear about other bloggers especially from Scotland, so have put a link in too!

Matthew said...

Beerjacket are, I think, supporting someone I'm going to see quite soon. Could well be The National at ABC2, along with St Vincent.

Case anyone's interested...

Ed said...

Could well be, will get back to you!

Meghann Wilhoite said...

Late comment I know, but I'm just going through blogs to find Interpol gig reviews for my own info.

I went to the MSG show and my little sis saw them at London Ally Pally, and we both totally agree with you on the issue of larger venues being completely non-conducive to the band's sound or compatibility with crowds.

As far as their level of involvement (or lack thereof), it seems to be uniquely dependent on the audience. To use my examples above, NYC was obviously ecstatic for them and received a lot of love from the guys in return (particularly after waiting through Cat Power and the Liars, totally not suitable for such a big venue). However, Ally Pally was apparently very aggressive and not terribly interested in truly soaking up the music, meaning Interpol were a little more stand-offish.

Just a personal observation: my job requires me to play in front of a small- to medium-sized crowds many times in the week, and I find my levels of interest often ride on how the audience behaves.

I can't wait to see them again, but definitely at a smaller venue.

Ed said...

Feedback always good, Meghann!

A few months later, I still feel that gig was disappointing, but am sympathetic to how people feedback to you.

As a teacher a certain element of performance is required, and if you feel people are unresponsive it can be frustrating and not conducive to doing your job properly.