Posted in music | pictures on November 8, 2010

words & photos by Chris Gersbeck

Interpol

United Palace is probably one of those venues that people groan at when they see the stop listed on a band's tour dates. Located on 175th St. and Broadway in Washington Heights, it's probably a hike for most in attendance, but once you arrive it's something special. A movie palace from 1930 through '69, United Palace was restored and turned into a church, and as a few years ago has been used as concert venue. Not many acts have played there since, but among them are Sigur Ros, Bob Dylan, Iggy & the Stooges, Arcade Fire and now, Interpol. I can only imagine the chaos the Stooges caused during their stay--anyone who's seen them knows they're not exactly a seat-friendly act but Interpol's performance was clearly a good fit for the intricately designed hall and big, open environment.

The Brooklyn-based White Rabbits opened the show, their last stop on this tour, a little after 8pm to a theater of mostly empty seats. A six-member group of multi-instrumentalists, their sound was energetic and full, with members constantly switching off instruments and an additional percussionist providing snare rolls, tambourine and tom hits. Admittedly, it was my first time hearing the band, but it came as no surprise when I learned their 2009 album It's Frightening was produced by Britt Daniel; the influence of Spoon was more than apparent. With the bass and percussion often providing a repetitive yet propulsive rhythm, songs would build up frantically as they went along, with keyboardist/co-frontman Steve Patterson doing his best (unintentional?) Thom Yorke impression. Not to say they reminded me of Radiohead, if anything White Rabbits reminded me more of On A Friday, but I'm certain the Radiohead comparison has been made before. Though it's difficult to gauge an audience's interest when they're sitting (and texting), the response was positive in the end, and it being their last show with Interpol, I'm sure a good way to end a tour.

The last time I saw Interpol was at Lollapalooza in '07, mostly a rainy affair, so my anticipation for an indoor theater show like this was strong. As it got closer to them taking the stage, the sold-out theater was now practically full, and people began leaving their seats and standing in the aisles. The band, clad in their iconic suits, took the stage around 9:20pm and opened with the first song, "Success," off their latest self-titled album. Although a bit of a dark and dreary way to open a show, you have to remind yourself that this is Interpol- dark & dreary is what they do. The band made no hesitation in going through their back catalogue, something I always appreciate, immediately following with Turn on the Bright Lights' "Say Hello to the Angels" before going into Antics' "Narc" and "Length of Love". The energy on stage was definitely there, though a lot of the credit there goes to guitarist Daniel Kessler, who rarely stops moving and acknowledging the crowd. I'm sure a lot of fans were initially disappointed upon hearing of Carlos D's departure earlier this year, but current touring bassist David Pajo of Slint is a worthy replacement. One of Interpol's strongest aspects are its flawless bass and drum interplay, and along with Sam Fogerino on drums, I don't think anyone dwelled too much on Dengler's absence.

While the crowd seemed initially reluctant to get too into the performance, by the time they went into "Slow Hands" the aisles were now nearly full of dancing fans. Following it with a slow song like "Untitled" might seem like an excellent way to kill the momentum, but instead playing the first song on their debut felt like the first time the band bonded with its audience. It reminded me of why I got into Interpol in the first place; the band that in 2002 suddenly became the so-called messiahs of New York City's indie scene.

Back to the momentum: a highlight of the show was "PDA", and the guitar breakdown in the middle received the most uproarious response the entire night, but this time following it with slow new song "Memory Serves" really brought things to a halt. They were able to pick things up with the great "Not Even Jail", but in my opinion, not the best way to close a set. Including favorites "Evil and "Obstacle 1" during the encore definitely helped, and while it seemed like for a minute there was going to be a second encore, all hope was lost when some of the brightest house lights I've ever seen shone down on the audience cueing a collective moan. Those who headed for the subway entrance at 175th Street were stuck trying to squeeze into the only two available turnstiles, prompting amusing belittlement to anyone whose Metrocard didn't work on the first swipe. If United Palace starts having more shows they might want to solve that problem, but for now the few big shows they have throughout the year should remain as exceptional as Friday's.

Interpol's next North American tour will include a headlining show at Radio City Music Hall (still no tickets yet). More pictures from United Palace with Interpol's setlist, below...

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

White Rabbits

Interpol

Interpol

Interpol

Interpol

Interpol

Interpol

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INTERPOL 11/5/10 Setlist:
Success
Say Hello To The Angels
Narc
Length of Love
Summer Well
Rest My Chemistry
Slow Hands
Untitled
C'mere
Barricade
Take You On A Cruise
Lights
PDA
Memory Serves
Not Even Jail
===========
The Lighthouse
Evil
Obstacle 1

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Comments (48)

Look at that set list!! Holy moley! I wish I went!

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:06 PM

I AM SO MAD I DIDNT GO TO THIS. FUCK ME.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:06 PM

I went...and it was magical!!!

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:08 PM

THEY WERE OUTSTANDING!

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:09 PM

" I'm sure a lot of fans were initially disappointed upon hearing of Carlos D's departure earlier this year"

Why do people care about Carlos D? He was only the bass player. It's not like he was the singer or guitarist.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:09 PM

this is the best venue in NY. I have no complaints. It really was magical.

Interpol, NY loves ya!

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:10 PM

Best way to avoid that setlist jam is just to enter on 177th st.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:12 PM

5:09! lol! I know, who cares about a bass player with dumb hair. And his stupid hair was all he added to the band. Bassists are insignificant and replaceable.

SHOW RULED ALL OTHER SHOWS OF THE YEAR. NOTHING COMPARES.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:13 PM

Easily the show of the year..maybe the decade

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:14 PM

best show that has ever been played in new york city or anywhere for that matter.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 5:19 PM

Ehhh, Music Hall was better - and setlist was too!

Posted by citybug | November 8, 2010 5:35 PM

If we simply stop talking about bands like Interpol, hipsters will magically disappear.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 6:18 PM

This concert was so good that I left early.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 6:59 PM

Guided by Voices walk all over this band.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 7:25 PM

Guided by Voices smell like shit. Go away old man

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 7:28 PM

ummmmm...no

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 7:42 PM

sorry, no thanks to Interpol that is

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 7:43 PM

there is more originality in my nostril hairs than Interpol and I am no fucking old man

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 7:44 PM

great show and the new album is phenomenal, maybe their best one yet.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 8:20 PM

^ahahhahahahahahaha

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 8:32 PM

ive been a huge fan for years.
lets be honest people, the new album is a huge piece of shit.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 8:33 PM

It is noteworthy that fauxhemians venture north of 59th Street for cultural events. Even lame events.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 8:34 PM

Interpol without Carlos D is like hummus without tahini.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2010 11:45 PM

Carlos D was a really great bassist- the songs from the first 2 albums sounded slow and klutzy without him. Pajo's a genius, obviously, but he hasn't really mastered these songs yet.

the Music Hall show was a lot a lot better than this one, in my opinion. And United Palace is such a dump, it's pretty depressing to be there.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 12:00 AM

Carlos D gave the band much needed stage presence. They needed at least one guy that wasn't standing still for over and hour.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 8:28 AM

interpol without carlos D isn't interpol. you basically paid money to see an interpol cover band. end of conversation

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 8:57 AM

look at that subway jam...yikes!

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 8:57 AM

NYC was amazing, though!

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 9:08 AM

I agree with Anon 8:33. I used to love Interpol, but each album presents diminishing returns.

The new album is garbage.

Posted by Dan | November 9, 2010 9:58 AM

they didn't play NYC... though I wish they had :(

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 10:01 AM

seriously, what has happened to the writing quality of the reviews? this reads like a high school newspaper.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 12:10 PM

No one opened the emergency exit door at the subway stop? What a bunch of ninnies.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 1:00 PM

I dont believe any of the Carlos D comments are from true fans. If you were at the show, you know how killer Peyo was! And bassists are replaceable. No one cares about Carlos D. He was good. So is Peyo. And so will the next bassist for Interpol. Who cares who's on bass if they can play the parts Paul Banks writes?

Posted by Sherpa | November 9, 2010 1:13 PM

it's Pajo

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 1:19 PM

^^^ Exactly! Who cares who the new bass player is! Interpol is the best New York band currently touring. Fuck Carlos D and his solo career no one will give 2 shits about.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 1:24 PM

i like turtles.

Posted by jonathan | November 9, 2010 1:42 PM

Great photos BV! This show was AWESOME! I had the most fun ever! I hope they play United Palace again. please please please :)

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 1:48 PM

INTERPOL 4 EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Posted by Jill Jacovey | November 9, 2010 2:52 PM

I love Pajo! He better than Carlos D! He better! Great show!

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 2:56 PM

$7 for small beers? fuck that.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 3:07 PM

Guided by Voices crushes Interpol. No comparison.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 3:34 PM

The show was great, and I agree that Carlos D had a great stage presence, but him left is not the end of the world for Interpol. What is thought is their albums. They manage to each album be worse than the previous.

TOTBL was amazing. Antics very good. OLTA passable. Interpol is incredibly boring. No memorable melodies, hooks or experimentalism. Is the same interpol but plain boring. I mean, even the band seems to think the new album sucks. It was basically a Antics tour all over again. For the concert was very fun, but for a band you want their love to admire is pretty depressing.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 3:44 PM

these photos suck - no offense.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 4:36 PM

none taken, it was pretty dark in there. thanks for the constructive feedback though!

Posted by chris | November 9, 2010 4:44 PM

"these photos suck - no offense."

No offense, but you suck! I don't know why, but you just do.

Posted by Anonymous | November 9, 2010 9:31 PM

they are a blatant Joy Division rip off. sorry folks but its true..

Posted by Anonymous | November 10, 2010 11:31 AM

"United Palace is probably one of those venues that people groan at when they see the stop listed on a band's tour dates."

Not if you live in Manhattan. Bridge and tunnel folks are boring.

Posted by Anonymous | November 10, 2010 5:48 PM

bridge and tunnel folks as in Brooklyn? ...um, as in BrooklynVegan?

Posted by Anonymous | November 12, 2010 9:02 AM

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