Interpol @ The NorVa

Interpol, July 24

After a nearly two year hiatus from touring and a lineup change, the atmospheric and always fashionable Interpol demonstrated Friday night at The NorVa in Norfolk, VA, that it’s back in full stride. In support of its upcoming self-titled fourth record, the NYC-based post-punk kings immediately showed off the new (not the song): the absence of lanky bassist Carlos Dengler, the additions of Brandon Curtis (Secret Machines) on keyboards and David Pajo (Slint and so much more) on bass, and the new material. I anticipated the loss of Dengler to be jarring as he and drummer Sam Fogarino were the driving forces behind the band since its debut, Turn on the Bright Lights; Pajo, however, is no stranger to the scene, and he and Curtis are more than suitable replacements.

Though the band has changed, the music hasn’t. Picking off where 2007’s moody and textured Our Love to Admire left off, nascent tracks “Success” and “Lights” build slowly and capture the band’s trademark sound. Both “Summer Well” and “Barricade” fit an OLTA mold, as well: less “PDA”-style twists and turns and more mastery of the grandiose and repetitious. The band seems to have found its comfort zone, and though Interpol may not sell out venues with ease as it had in the Antics-era, it has achieved a different kind of success.

The supportive crowd at The NorVa embraced the new material but was most electric for the band’s standout tracks like “Say Hello to the Angels,” “Obstacle 1,” and “Evil.” Confident frontman Paul “Julian Plenti” Banks rarely engaged the crowd with banter but crooned well, smiled often, and saved the stage antics (no pun intended) for energetic guitarist Daniel Kessler. There wasn’t a bum note throughout the entire set, a sign of how well rehearsed the band is, and the group’s cohesion was highlighted by Fogarino’s always impressive work on drums. The highlight of the night may have been the insistent clap-along rhythm of “Not Even Jail” or the beautifully elegant “NYC,” though fans who were present may argue it was the heavily requested “Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down.” This was a triumphant return to consistency for a band going through changes.

Opening acts Twin Tigers and The Postelles were solid, but the former was much more memorable. The Athens, GA-based group, accurately described as “dream noise” – think of a Sonic Youth-inspired shoegaze with pounding drums and lackadaisical vocals – romped through its set of material from debut Gray Waves. With a band name emphasizing similarity, Twin Tigers focused on contrast with its dissonant guitar harmonies.

[Photo courtesy of Roaming Lucia, Flickr.]

Setlist after the jump.

Say Hello to the Angels
Summer Well
The Heinrich Maneuver
Take You on a Cruise
Slow Hands
Not Even Jail

Leif Erikson
Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down
Obstacle 1


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