Monday, April 18, 2011

interpol @ sunshine theater (4/18/11)

A bit of context: By the time I had Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights memorized (it's still one of the best albums of the last ten years, folks; though I wouldn't actually hear it until later, it was released on my 13th birthday -- welcome to adolescence, young man), Antics still hadn't even come out. Arcade Fire's Funeral didn't yet exist. My Great Indie-Rock Discovery Phase of 2005 (which yielded the likes of the Decemberists, Wolf Parade, Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab/Postal Service, Bloc Party, and so on) was still looming in the distant future. In the spring and summer of 2004, I was, for all intents and purposes, listening to only three "indie" bands: Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, and Interpol. The aforementioned Antics was one of the first new releases I specifically remember looking forward to.

The bottom line is this: These guys were a big fucking deal in my musical development. Being one of my foundational indie bands means I'll always love you, even if you've severely taken a piss in recent years. Even as someone who finds little to defend in Interpol's most recent work (save a handful of songs), I was still thrilled to finally get a chance to see them live. This is a concert I've been anticipating for something like seven years.

So of course they played at the Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque's shittiest indoor concert venue.* In spite of this, they still managed to rock really effing hard. As one might expect from their music, seeing this band live is a really intense experience. It's a lot of fun, of course, but these guys mean business. They play these songs with an earnestness and raw force that is breathtaking. In my friend's own words: "That show had the kind of energy that I was hoping for, but not really expecting."

Even the fact that the much-more-beloved Arcade Fire played in Santa Fe on the same night did not seem to keep folks from coming out. This was the fullest I've ever seen the Sunshine. It wouldn't surprise me if the place was sold out. Most importantly, though, all of these people were really fucking into it. It's a simple law of concertgoing that states that the more receptive the crowd is, the better the band performs. There was palpable chemistry in the room. Both the band and the audience fed off of it.

According to the almost illegible scribblings on this sad, crumpled up piece of paper I just pulled out of my pocket, here's what they played.

Say Hello to the Angels
Hands Away
Rest My Chemistry
Summer Well
The Heinrich Maneuver
Memory Serves
Obstacle 1

The New
Slow Hands
Not Even Jail

...holy shit. I could nitpick certain songs and switch things around, but I'm not going to. Everything was performed so well that it doesn't make a difference, and the encore was one of the best I've seen. Likewise, I could dissect, discuss, reminisce, and detail until I'm blue in the face. But I won't. It was an excellent show, and worth the wait.

Okay fine, one small comment: Daniel Kessler is one suave motherfucker. Yeah yeah Paul Banks whatever; Daniel Kessler is one suave motherfucker.

OH YEAH. And School of Seven Bells opened. They were awesome. They and Interpol make for kind of an odd couple, but hey, what can you do? Good times all around.

*Feel free, Sunshine, to quote Marimba and Shit-Blog on all future press releases.