Interpol Invades Nashville

The gloomy evening did little to dampen my spirits this particular night even though the rain had other ideas. Like a school kid I jumped puddles with a friend of mine to head to Marathon Music Works. This was my first trip there, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew whom the club owners were as the venue is the big sister of The Signal here in town, so I figured I was in good hands.

The club looks massively large from the outside but 0once inside the cavernous room was divided into different rooms. I looked at this massive empty room where the bands were setting up and asked security how many people the place holds. They told me they’ve had upwards of 1,800 for one show. I asked if this night’s show was a sellout. I was told 1,300 tickets had been sold but they were expecting a walkup crowd.

My buddy Brad, who lives in Nashville, was my escort this evening and we lurked around the building to see what was going on. There was an elevated deck that was VIP or “exclusive seating. Those seats almost double the price of a regular ticket and seemed a little far away for my taste. If I’m going to a show I want in on the action.

Interpol was the headliner. This was one of only two shows marginally close for me to road trip. It’s been a dozen years since I got to see the band perform. So long in fact, I have pictures on my MySpace page from the show in 2007.

Interpol always struck me as a tough as nails indie rock that always had a sound reminiscent of something. Of course it was Joy Division I’m referring to and singer Paul Banks at times would straddle the mic like Ian Curtis at times almost like a tease. Bans always had his hands full, however. Not just a front man, he played guitar. I remember the last show I saw he kind of stood sideways at the audience, often with a cigarette dangling from his lips for effects.

Interpol was part of the great New York indie rock scene that burst out everywhere during the early part of the millennium. They, along with The Strokes made a lasting impression on me and were a breath of fresh air from the corporate music shoved down our throats. I know that last sentence seems to be a throwback to the late ‘70s – whose upheaval led to post punk and New Wave. Interpol and The Strokes as well as a handful of other indie artists caught everyone’s attention (in this list include the long line of bands whose name started with “The” – I refer to the as the “The” bands and that included The Vines, The Hiss and most famously The White Stripes). Interpol and the like ushered in a throwback sound with a new/edgy feel – something the kids of today weren’t used to and are unfortunately missing today.

I haven’t heard much of the band in many years and when I saw on social media they were playing a club date (I had only seen them at arenas prior) I made my plans. Brad and wandered next door where there is a wine and food area (kind of odd since it’s a rock club and fits the stereotype. When we left the room was an empty cavern. In 15 minutes the place was full. I was impressed. You never know what to expect from a venue you’ve never been in, so I was surprised – pleasantly.

The place was dark and damp (it was alternating heavy rain with 15-minute breaks all night – actually all day counting the road trip. I heard the off-key strumming of a band taking stage. There was an opener, one I was actually looking forward to seeing. Sunflower Bean has caught my attention a few months ago thanks to songs being in heavy rotation on college radio. Their current single, “Come For Me” has been stuck in my head for weeks. Fronted by Julia Cumming the three-piece has some nasty guitar work with a pseudo/psychedelic sound that caught my ears and many others. A bonus for me this night.

Interpol was everything I remembered and more. Banks has matured and even resembles Ian Curtis a little. Touring to promote their newest release, Marauder, the band had the audience easting out of their hands. And the lights had everyone of balance. A great light show for a club gig, the psychedelic strobes and laser beams gave the club an alt-disco feel as a majority of the material was from the new album. Banks stood there stoic with an almost robotic voice playing the cool cat and master of ceremonies. Daniel Kessler did a majority of the moving as he strode up and down towards the crowd before retreating to drummer Sam Fogarino.

The set list resembled a mix of two worlds. The two biggest sources of the might were singles from Marauder and their first full-length, Turn on the Bright Lights. A lot of emphasis was on their earlier work, I’m not sure if it had anything to do with the fact they haven’t been south in a long time, or that they just like the old stuff better. All in all, it was Interpol and that’s all you need to know.

Interpol Set List:
Pioneer to the Falls
If You Really Love Nothing
Public Pervert
Say Hello to the Angels
Take You on a Cruise
The Rover
Number 10
Rest My Chemistry
Flight of Fancy
The New
All the Rage Back Home
Slow Hands

Not Even Jail
Obstacle 1

– Dave Weinthal