ACL Live Shot: Interpol

The best English post-punk band millennial NYC produced

Quite a culture clash, witnessing a band whose members you once saw walking the streets of New York City’s Lower East Side now magnified larger than 1,000 lives on a music festival Jumbotron.

Yet there they were: Interpol, still suited and booted, the best late-Seventies, English-post-punk band millennial NYC produced. Iconic bassist Carlos Dengler no longer hogs the audience’s gaze, but the band’s remaining core trio inhabits the limelight like they they were born to it.

Duh! Give the band a hand: Interpol frontman Paul Banks Saturday on the ACL Fest Honda stage (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Frontman Paul Banks looked more mature, filled-out, and slicked-back. Daniel Kessler still pulls catchy, heavily-delayed two-note hooks from a pair of semi-hollow body guitars. Pulling up the rear, Sam Fogarino pounds out hard-bitten disco rhythms as if the only two drummers who mattered were Chic’s Tony Thompson and the Clash’s Topper Headon.

Scheduling pasty-skinned musicians who favor a black wardrobe at 4pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon in a big public park isn’t advisable usually, but the visual dissonance arrived effectively counterbalanced with the band’s almost Gothic indie rock. And Interpol, driven by steady, middling tempos, extensive use of aural space, and subtle keyboard washes, suits a big outdoor event better than most bands.

Such music begs for natural echo, and this crowd ate it up. Judging by the rapturous reaction literally every tune received on its first notes, from vintage songs like “Evil” to new cuts like “All the Rage Back Home” from the band’s fifth LP El Pintor, everything Interpol’s released has been a huge hit.

Read interview with drummer Sam Fogarino.

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ACL Fest, Interpol, ACL Fest 2014, Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler, Sam Fogarino, Carlos Dengler, Chic, Clash, Tony Thompson, Topper Headon

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