With School of Seven Bells
The Fillmore Miami Beach
Friday, April 29, 2011
Better than: Taking a love potion.
Much like a first date, Paul Banks was shy early in Interpol's set Friday. He loosened up quite a
bit after the first couple of songs were played. By midset, he was
courting us. Then came the compliments: "You're a beautiful,
beautiful audience" -- and he really meant that, he said. Then he
got to the good stuff -- after looking into the audience, he
smiled a couple of times.
While their drums thundered and
guitars emitted forceful tones, Interpol remained still for almost the entire evening. With legs locked into place, they used only their arms to play the hell out of their instruments. It was stage minimalism. It was nonmovement. And it was intoxicating.
While smoke blanketed the stage's flashing white and red lights, guitarist Daniel Kessler's and singer Paul Banks'
faces remained lit up the whole time, but no such luck for the new
bassist. Each up-tempo number attached itself to the rhythm of what throbs
in your chest. A desirable paralysis spread from the performers onstage to the enraptured crowd, creating a roomful of anchors. The most intense moments of the night came when the suited-up clan kept still, often in utter darkness. (Who knows what drummer Sam Fogarino was wearing?)
These four well-groomed, seductive men on
stage were simultaneously romantic, scary, and elegant. They were hosting a wine party in a dungeon. (And if their lyrics are any indicator, they love wine.)
Interpol played tight and clean, making even their slow numbers, like
"Rest My Chemistry," keep a pace that kept the crowd's bottled-up energy alive. Of course, the foursome moved a tiny bit. During "The
Heinrich Maneuver," Kessler stepped up and down his part of the
stage a few times.
After removing his jacket to display a red-and-black fitted flannel, Banks seemed to light up while singing the
new material off the band's latest self-titled album. His can-be-composed-during-certain-songs facial
expression became riddled with emotion. For "Lights," the crowd joined in
as Banks repeatedly serenaded with the chorus line: "That's why I
hold you." Besides chanting
along and swaying, some fans held their hands over their hearts. During
"Try It On," Banks actually rubbed his head and forehead, showing us a
more intimate side -- what he looks like frustrated. Once Banks started belting out "NYC," however, it was clear he still was smitten with the old.
The beauty of Interpol returning to the
Fillmore after only eight months -- it weeded out the
quasi-appreciators. The crowd knew all the material and loved the new
songs as much as the old. Everyone clapped during "Slow Hands,"
and Banks' talk-singing real fast was a wonderful
moment during "Evil." When he sang, "Turn on the bright lights," the Fillmore was finally full of light.
Random detail: Paul Banks has a mullet!
Personal bias: There
is something so homey and familiar to me about Interpol -- oh, yeah, my
21-year-old self was obsessed with them.
The crowd: Scary how mainstream Interpol feels after taking a gander at
the crowd, a fair share of
manicured yuppies. No polling necessary; true fans
filled the crowd -- from the woman dressed in a black dress there by
herself to the avid male Interpol fan swaying next to me who wore a Joy
Overheard in the crowd: Her gaze directed toward Interpol: "They're pretty eye-fuckable."
By the way: After blowing the crowd a kiss, Paul Banks left the stage. I tried my hardest not to make this an ode to Paul Banks.
"Say Hello to the Angels"
"Rest My Chemistry"
"Try It On"
"The Heinrich Maneuver"
"Not Even Jail"
"Length of Love"