Interpol w/Matthew Dear Live Review

There are always bands that lurk in the shadows of real and over-powering fame, despite the fact that there are indeed an excellent collection of individuals, with a large and loyal fan-base. Interpol are one of these bands. They have never been forgotten but then they have never been given a massive amount of publicity either, despite them being one of the most impressive and tightest live acts around. Tonight however, is most definitely their night and judging by the sea of heads around the Academy, one that many people have come to share. Before the main attraction can get underway however, we must first listen to the only support act of the night – a Mr Matthew Dear.

A DJ, a producer and an artist; Matthew Dear has featured in the music industry, in more ways than one, for the past 12 years and has released 5 solo albums in this time. Despite his long duration in the business however, Dear tonight is greeted with a sea of indifferent and some confused faces. Donning leather pants, Elvis-style hair and blazer/shirt/tie combo, its not just Dear’s choice of attire that is confusing. His music, an electronic-indie style mashing, served with a side of Apple Mac mixing and guitar splashes is a very confusing listen.

Coupled with his odd dancing, the added inclusion of trumpets and maracas into his sound and love of banging on a piece of metal, it has to be said watching Matthew Dear is a very surreal and odd experience. His alt-pop does however seem to be a fitting inclusion in the bill and whilst some people look on in bewilderment, there are a few who seem to like him. With polite applause around him and a smile on his face, Mr Dear and his band depart from the stage leaving the path open for the main course and a less perplexing act.

A long thirty-minute wait later and finally Interpol are on the stage, ready to inject some musical post-punk structure into lives. Off the bat, Interpol are perfect, from the vocals to the timing, there isn’t a bad word that can be said against the New York quartet. Starting off with a newer track ‘Success,’ Interpol waste little time diving straight into the action, with no introductions or well wishing’s to their fans.

This is how they conduct themselves for the rest of the night, with very little interaction between the men on stage and the admiring faces looking up at them. Instead Interpol let their music do the talking, which is exactly what it does. From the fast-paced “Say Hello To The Angels” to the slow and slightly mournful sounds of “Hands Away”, Interpol have an array of different angles to their music and each one sounds just as good as the next. The only real problem with tonight’s gig is the actual audience themselves, who despite their smiles, do not seem the most active of fans.

Whether this is because the average age in the room seems to be around 30 and above or because they simply just don’t feel like being loud and sweaty, Interpol’s every adoring legions do not seem on top form tonight. They applaud loudly and cheer enthusiastically whenever a song ends and new one begins but when it comes to singing along with the words or actually moving their bodies, the individuals in the 02 Academy tonight just don’t seem to want to take part.

Some songs do however get special treatment, such as “Evil” which appears towards the middle of the set, sparking cries of happiness and a few vocal musters. For most of the gig however, the room is a cloud of staring eyes, all intently peering at Banks and co and whilst the room isn’t silent or still, nor is it massively lively.

This doesn’t stop Interpol however who glide through their set with ease and enough enthusiasm for everyone. Songs such as “Narc” and “Take You On A Cruise” sounds as fresh as ever, whilst tracks “Summer Well” and “Memory Serves” integrate beautifully with the older material. The final song before the encore comes all to soon and as “Obstacle 1” begins its guitar strums, some life is injected into the Academy for the first time in a while.

Thankfully we don’t have to wait long for the New Yorkers to make an another appearance and as they bound onto the stage for the second time tonight, Interpol do so with smiles on their faces, obviously enjoying themselves and when they crack into opening encore number “Untitled”, the crowd actually seem a little pumped up. Whether they sense the imminent threat of their favourite band being taken away from them or a just last ditch attempt at giving these hard-working men something back, the audience actually get animated right through to second offering “The New” and when the final track of the night “Slow Hands” begins, they seem somewhat excited.

Finally, Interpol get the reaction they deserve and whilst it may be a little to late, the four men in front don’t seem to have even noticed. For tonight, they have enjoyed themselves and whilst the people around them may not have been the most eager of individuals, the grins on their faces suggest they too had a good night. A fitting end to a show and band that were both flawless and utterly illuminating, if you haven’t seen Interpol live, you definitely should and if you have, then you don’t need to be told how good they are, you already know.

Original article first appeared on Altsounds website on 30/03/11