Coming out of the COVID pandemic (which isn’t over, but whatever…), there’s been an urge to ‘get back to normal,’ to do the things we used to do back when Corona was just a beer (and a Minutemen track, used as theme song for Jackass). That’s extended to music, to see the acts we used to see, to be comforted by the familiar. Yet slowly but surely, we’re embracing the new in this new world, like albums that aren’t even out yet. Interpol brought their upcoming record & old classics to their Big Apple hometown at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre on Sunday, May 15th.
Interpol started over on the Lower East Side during the alt-rock boom there at the start of this century/millennium (back before gentrification & raising rents moved the music deeper & deeper into Brooklyn). It’s now two decades since breakthrough debut Turn Out the Bright Lights, and despite some occasional dips & member losses, they’ve kept driving forward. This night, their second in a row at King’s (QRO venue review), was the final on their latest tour, before heading to Just Like Heaven Fest the next Saturday (QRO photos), Mexico City the Saturday after that, and then Europe in June.
But they were playing behind July’s upcoming The Other Side of Make-Believe, their seventh full-length (where did the time go?). Like any act that ever broke through, Interpol have their late greats that everything else gets compared to, in this case Bright Lights and 2004 follow-up Antics, which were at the forefront of the aughts’ neo-New Wave movement. And yes, it was the old songs that got the biggest responses, such as all the camera phones up to make shaky, half-done videos for Bright Lights’ “Obstacle 1”. But it was neat that the old songs are still fun for the band, whether singer/guitarist Paul Banks laughing after his false start to “Obstacle”, or guitarist Daniel Kessler doing a little dance to the beat of the start of Antics’ “Evil”, before his part began. And yes, they closed with one from each of the first albums, Turn Out’s “PDA” and then Antics’ “Slow Hands” to finish.
But there were also new songs from The Other Side of Make-Believe. New pieces such as “Fables” leaned into the slower Interpol loss, while Kessler sat down at the keys for the growing “Something Changed” and piano-led sadness of “Something Changed” (played back-to-back, probably to limit how much Kessler had to change instruments). And if those & the more pressing “Gran Hotel” weren’t received with the rapturous applause of the likes of Bright’s “The New” or “NYC”, they still got a warm response from the crowd.
[a hometown crowd, which was missing The New York Rangers’ thrilling overtime Game Seven win just over at Madison Square Garden, to advance to the second round – one fan in a Rangers Jersey did chest-bump with a security staff member by the outside bar in celebration]
If you’re going to go out – and please do, health & safety permitting – yes, you want to see your old favorites, like the indie-aughts fest that is Just Like Heaven. But also get ready for the new.