Interpol at Marquee Theatre Last Night

Interpol performing live at Marquee Theatre last night.
Interpol performing live at Marquee Theatre last night.
Maria Vassett

Marquee Theatre
Saturday, February 5, 2011

Interpol hasn't headlined a Phoenix show since 2004, a few months after Antics was released. In 2005 they visited our state twice, playing Edgefest, and Coconuts, a small Tucson bar that is now closed. Since then, Arizona has been skipped on every tour, including all of 2007's Our Love to Admire tour and the first leg of last year's self-titled tour.

Not that we should take it too personally. Lately, things have been turbulent for Interpol. Carlos D, the original bassist, left the band shortly after they finished recording their eponymous fourth studio album. Drummer Sam Fogarino told Mike Escoto all about it in a recent interview.

Six years of anticipation brought fans out to the sold out Marquee Theatre. Who knows what someone seeing the band for the first time was expecting, whether it was a balanced set, or the overly ambitious idea of hearing Turn on the Bright Lights in full. Regardless, it was clear that the audience's feelings toward the self-titled songs reflected the album's lackluster reception. The handful of people singing and jumping up and down to songs like "Barricade" were met by a sea of people standing silent and motionless.

Interpol performing live at Marquee Theatre last night.
Interpol performing live at Marquee Theatre last night.
Maria Vassett

Sure, it was a sold out show and it was kind of warm, but that hasn't stopped fans from showing some semblance of a pulse at the Marquee Theatre in the past. In fact, some of their most crowded and sweaty shows have drawn the most energetic crowds. But, hey, these are hipsters, I guess, so they're not necessarily big on moving.

The band's classic songs had the best reactions, but even so, sing alongs were sparse - for instance, the first lines of "Evil" (did they forget what comes after "Heaven restores you in life?"), the chorus of "PDA" and most of "Slow Hands."

Were fans that upset that the band was playing new songs? They played five songs from the new album, two from Our Love to Admire, and six from Antics and Turn on the Bright Lights. That's seven "new" songs and twelve "old" songs.

So, what was the problem? Why not show a little enthusiasm? Fans seemed more interested in talking to their friends or taking pictures than enjoying the concert. They were lukewarm at best, cheering and clapping along when prompted.

"Lights", the first single off the new album is the perfect example of this. The crowd clapped along to the beginning and then stopped until other instruments joined singer/guitarist Paul Banks.

Maybe this is why Interpol hasn't played Phoenix in six years. I can't say how the band was received in 2005, but can speculate that the Marquee Theatre was full of uber fans that got to hear a set full of Antics and Turn on the Bright Lights songs. Perhaps that's what they were expecting tonight, but it's no longer 2005. The band has put out two albums since, and is promoting their most recent release. Most of their previous tours have been similarly structured, just Google old set lists or listen to their live album, which was recorded during the Our Love to Admire tour.

School of Seven Bells' set didn't help. They had sound issues because they missed their sound check thanks to a flat tire. There was also apparently an issue with the band's introduction. The band tweeted: "Thanks to Tom from Lucky Man. Totally made up for calling us Sleigh Bells. Cafe Patron all around..."

All's well that end's well.

Perhaps Interpol will have better luck at their April show in Tucson. A fan remarked, "They didn't play 'Stella'. Looks like I'll have to go to Tucson after all."

Good luck with that.

Set List:
1. Success
2. Say Hello to the Angels
3. Narc
4. Hands Away
5. Barricade
6. Rest my Chemistry
7. Evil
8. Length of Love
9. Lights
10. Leif Erikson
11. Summer Well
12. Take you on a Cruise
13. The Heinrich Maneuver
14. Memory Serves
15. PDA


16. Untitled
17. The New
18. Slow Hands
19. Not Even Jail

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Interpol at Marquee Theatre

Personal Bias: I drove to Las Vegas to see them a few months ago, and in spite of my $12 rum and coke, it was one of the best shows I went to last year.

The Crowd: Surprisingly not into it. They had random spurts of energy at the beginnings and ends of songs, but otherwise politely clapped.

Overheard: I lost count of how many times I heard "STELLA!!"

Random Notebook Dump: Paul has a faux hawk and rat tail, a couple guys tried (and failed) to mosh, and a group of people is being very obvious about their weed smoking. ...where am I? This doesn't feel like an Interpol show.

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