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Setting the scene for Interpol’s arrival a the Colston Hall, Matthew Dear treated the audience to a sonic avalanche of Brian Eno-esque tracks. His incessant set hummed along on a, sadly barely audible, vocal and paddled on the darker side of electronica. Intriguing and avant garde, his album Black City is out now for curious souls to explore. Interpol are in no way an easy listening or accessible band, and the fans who buzz and hum around the stage prior to the performance have ploughed lovingly through steady, heavy albums to get here. Their devotion shows when, a usually reserved venue, bursts into life the second they stroll into view. It seems every album has driven the band further into the hearts of their fans, and the set swings from old to new without obstacle. ‘Narc’ meets rapturous applause from the first note, and it is powerhouse of drumming drives and drives, only outdone by the steady grind of ‘Take You on a Cruise’. Clearly 2004’s Antics album is an audience favourite and its grimy guitars, supplied by the hypnotic Daniel Kessler, taunt the crowd as the guitarist dances to the front of the stage swaying his regularly swapped instrument. Interpol rarely address the audience and the small break in the fourth wall induces squeals and waves of movement surprising for followers of such a stalwart and still band. They like to treat them mean and it works. ‘Rest My Chemistry’ rolls out in an orchestral fashion filling the venue with elegant, pure sound evident also in ‘Obstacle 1′ from the successful ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ album, heavy with wonderful melancholic poetry. Paul Bank’s voice projects the sex and the sorrow at the heart of the band, and the delectable ‘Lights’ stands alone in its commanding delivery. So delicate is the vocal delivery and build of sound in the song that the hall stands still, eyes close and the striking lyric “you will always obey, that’s why I hold you” seems wholly appropriate. The darkness in the band is evident, the audience sing along to ‘Evil’s challenging lyrics empathetically, it seems to have tapped into a vein. ‘Heinrich Manoeuvre’ hammers home in dramatic fashion, suddenly energetic breaking the dream state with its embittered message to lost love “How are things on the West Coast? Oh I’d move heaven behind those eyes”.
Pausing only to thank the support and reload a generous supply of plectrums, Interpol return for the inevitable encore featuring a solid rendition of ‘Untitled’ from their 2002 album, and ‘Slow Hands’ previously performed by the original line up and in no way depleted now. Interpol leave the audience sweaty and elated, with a shared sense that something is really happening within this group. Hopefully this is the start and not the pinnacle.

Words and photos: Helen Brown