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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.