Interpol plays tight, if stoic, at the Ogden Theatre - Reverb

Live review: Interpol @ the Ogden Theatre

When a band’s energy is expressed in the music, rather than in the musicians themselves, a show can be a little hard to process. Such was the case with Interpol last night at the Ogden Theatre.

Save for guitarist Daniel Kessler’s quirky ’60s-style dance moves and some well-executed lighting, there was really not much to see onstage. The musicians were static, black-clad figures that deviated little from the “stand and play” approach. Yet, the music itself was tightly performed and as expansive and ambitious as ever. This setup — passionate, intimate music played without any apparent passion — creates the feeling that one is watching little more than a recitation.

Interpol started off their set with “Success” and proceeded with nearly no banter and zero improvisation. Perhaps the best way to characterize the show is to use words like “methodical,” “meticulous,” and “accurate.” Paul Banks’ voice is unbelievable, but he doesn’t wander from the paths carved by each song’s studio recording. Kessler’s guitar playing is more than deft, but he never plays a single note outside the way we’re used to hearing it. Interpol stuck to the radio hits as well, with a set list that was light on B-sides and new stuff and very heavy on crowd-pleasers like “Slow Hands,” “Not Even Jail,” “Stella Was a Diver” and “She Was Always Down.”

Openers White Rabbits were exactly the opposite. Trading out instruments, dancing, banging on huge toms…there was not a single moment of stillness during the band’s set. Closing with “Percussion Gun,” White Rabbits’ percussion-driven sound and lead singer Alex Even’s Freddie Mercury-esque voice proved a fine job of literally warming up the crowd on a breathtakingly chilly fall night.

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Cassandra Schoon is a Denver freelance writer and regular Reverb contributor.

Joe McCabe is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb. Check out his website.

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  • http://www.denvereverb.com Ricardo Baca

    I agree that it wasn’t the most adventurous show. The band actually seemed really flat throughout the set. Songs that should have popped off the stage (‘Evil,’ ‘PDA’) never got off the ground. I’ve never thought of Interpol as an amazing live band, but last night saddened me. I didn’t think Carlos’ departure would mean much, but given their lack of an honest rhythm section last night, I fear his absence is a signal of bad news for these boys.

  • ZONDUH

    Agree on all points. I thought Paul’s vox sounded great, but Interpol’s lack of stage presence made me wish even more that Interpol had been the opener. White Rabbits STOLE THIS SHOW. Slight correction….lead singer of WR is *Stephen Patterson*….Alex is one of the guitar players.

  • Michael Thompson (@HaloEleven)

    I got the sense that Paul might have been under the weather. His voice just lacked something. It’s a shame that all of the energy the White Rabbits created was sucked right out the room from the get-go. The audience had no trouble matching the band’s stoicism. Too many hipsters in the crowd not used to being bumped around at a sold out GA show. The set list was great, and it’s hard to criticize it. But, no “Heimlich Maneuver”?!?

    • Michael Thompson (@HaloEleven)

      Geez. I can’t believe I wrote “Heimlich” instead of “Heinrich”. Time to increase my ADD meds.

  • http://www.denvereverb.com Ricardo Baca

    True, ‘Heimlich Maneuver’ woulda been key!

  • Cassandra

    You know, I had Stephen Patterson down as the singer but in looking at their Web site, I second-guessed myself into using Alex’s name. Dang.

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