Sweat-soaked chrome confetti, remnants of the previous evening’s Marilyn Mason spectacle, clung to the floor of The National as hundreds descended to devour Interpol’s unique brooding, seductive sound
Sweat-soaked chrome confetti, remnants of the previous evening’s Marilyn Mason spectacle, clung to the floor of The National as hundreds descended to devour Interpol’s unique brooding, seductive sound.
Matador Records label partners Algiers took the stage drenched in an all-encompassing crimson glow to unleash an overwrought, perplexing blend of punk rock, hip-hop, R&B, and gospel. The sound mix was not particularly kind to the triumvirate, whose manifesto was obscured beneath the buzzing drone of bass in tandem with layers of thick distortion on the vocal track.
Frontman Franklin James Fisher wielded a tambourine and was noticeably out of sync with the corresponding backing track. He interchanged it with a guitar that, with the exception of a few sparse staccatos, was so buried in the mix the axe served as effectively as it would have had it remained on its stand at stage right. His body thrashed, resembling a salmon swimming upstream, and his legs vacillated like a pair of high performance pistons.
Their lyrical content may have remained a mystery, but their energy was unquestionable.
Between the Gregorian gospel backing tracks and the unrelenting bombardment of bass and electronic drums, Algiers came and went without a word of acknowledgement to an audience left scratching their heads.
In stark contrast, however, Interpol blasted off into a tightly wound, refined performance from the outset.
Paul Banks and company enjoyed a short respite from the road after traveling to venues across the European and South American continents in the previous months, but their sound was no less polished than had they played the same set just hours before.
Fans would not have been misplaced in believing that the set would begin with a chunk of new tracks from the band’s most recent release, 2014’s “El Pintor,” but instead were treated to the frenzied tones of the early-aught track “Say Hello to the Angels.”
Interpol has a unique ability to interweave complex bass melodies with both driving, unstoppable salvos of rhythm guitar and soaring leads to create a sound that in it’s highest registers sounds like a nest of hornets and at it’s depths embodies the mythical Hydra; heads swirling around one another and a locomotive percussion at its heart.
In both instances, it’s an organized chaos and it was on full display Thursday evening.
Song selection throughout the night was unconventional but welcomed, featuring a number of tracks that back-end the group’s anthology as opposed to a collection of singles. “Rest My Chemistry,” “Not Even Jail,” and “My Blue Supreme” were notable examples of such choices, while hits “PDA,” “Obstacle 1,” and “The Heinrich Maneuver” were markedly absent. The group’s 2010 eponymous album was altogether ignored.
Flanked by a dozen spotlights that cut through the crowd as easily as the band’s trademark blistering riffs of “Slow Hands” and “Evil,” the band was much less a visual spectacle than an audible one. A projection screen scrawled floating geometric shapes and grainy low-contrast outlines of the performers atop the backdrop, but was little more than a superfluous distraction.
The “El Pintor” material came off no less sultry than their seasoned works. The slurred triplets of “My Desire” in particular cast an electric, disarming haze across the venue while Banks slithered around the face of the microphone.
“All the Rage Back Home,” the lead single from the band’s latest effort, kicked off the three-song encore that ended as unexpectedly as the main set had begun, with the 2002 deep cut “Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down.” Though the evening ended lyrically at the bottom of the ocean, the audience left with their hands towards the heavens in unreserved surrender.