Electric Picnic Review: Interpol, Electric Arena five stars

by Ed Power

Outside the predicted downpour had started in earnest but inside a packed Electric Arena an atmosphere of majestic gloom was conjured as Manhattan post-punks Interpol performed their debut LP in its entirely.

Turn On The Bright Lights was widely dismissed as a po-faced pastiche of new wave icons such as Joy Division upon release 15 years ago. However, the record has since gained in stature and is regarded today as one of the definitive albums to emerge from the early 2000s New York rock scene.

As is their wont, frontman Paul Banks, guitarist Daniel Kessler and drummer Sam Fogarino wore black suites and studied pouts (original bassist Carlos Dengler left in 2010 in a row over whether the band should go experimental).

Playing a "classic" long-player from beginning to end can be a cynical cash-grab by a musicians in a creative tail-spin. But Turn On The Bright Lights stood up to its reappraisal, with the funereal maelstrom of Untitled proceeding into a jagged Obstacle 1 and NYC, the trio's break-out "hit" (in traditional indie-pop fashion it didn't, in fact, chart very highly).

Interpol rocking @ electric arena #ep2017 #interpol #electricpicnic

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Never the chattiest, Interpol were typically uncommunicative. But the cliche of a band letting their music do the talking never felt more applicable as they reached for explosive catalogue cuts Leif Erikson and Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down.

#Interpol 😍 what a show 🤘🏽

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An encore saw the headliners whizz through later smashes such as Slow Hands (not to be confused with Niall Horan's new single), though they didn't stay long enough to play favourite the Heinrich Manoeuvre as they had in London the previous night.

Still, after 90 minutes of irresistible alt.pop this was a quibble. Not even the maelstrom gathering outside could cramp Interpol's grandiloquent style.


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