The Countdown Before Interpol At Den Atelier, Luxembourg, Saturday, August 19th
I am preparing for my fifth Interpol concert. I am excited since I have bought my tickets earlier this year, when the band had announced the “Turn On The Bright Lights” anniversary tour on January. It’s time to leave toward Luxembourg City to get in time for the show.
We are in line to enter the small club. We are about 200, not more, waiting under the rain to gain entrance to the “Grail”. In the crowd I can hear German-spoken guys and others from Belgium. I immediately notice the big black tour bus of the band parked in front of the location and I can’t help trying to imagine the band inside the bus, maybe looking at me under the rain…
Inside the hall I manage to run in front of the scene, in front of the amplifiers and the tuners to be honest… Then the members of a band from LA called Froth come on stage. They open for Interpol for the entire European tour. I am quite astonished because the sound of Froth seems familiar to me while I have never heard about them before. They perform some tracks from their third album “Outside (Briefly)” released few months ago and I feel like I’m listening to Primitive Radio Gods, Lower Dens or Deerhunter. The singer JooJoo Ashworth remembers me of Elliott Smith’s voice on “Briefly” and “Shut the Windows” and their music is in the shoegaze style of Interpol. I particularly appreciate the songs “Passing Thing” and “Contact”. A good discovery to deepen on Bandcamp! Their set puts us into a good mood for what’s gonna happen next!
Suddenly the atmosphere changes, the lights turn red and the stage is full with familiar guitars (Paul’s black Les Paul Custom and Daniel’s cherry Epiphone Casino), drums, keyboards and mediators on the mics.
Dressed up in black elegant suits, Paul, Sam, Daniel, Brad and Brandon appear on stage, take their instruments and start playing “Not Even Jail” and “Take You on a Cruise” without saying a word. As usual the set design is sober, satured red and green spotlights give a Lynchian touch to the scenography. None of them moves or dances or speaks to each other during the show, they only share few glances. They are just here, so close to me, professional and concentrated. The concert hall is so small, I can feel a real intimacy between the audience and the band, despite some technical issues mostly due to the sound engineering.
Paul thanks the audience after “All the Rage Back Home” and announces a back-in-time journey because they are now gonna play the entire “TOTBL” album. When Daniel starts playing the first guitar lines of “Untitled”, my favorite love song ever, I am submerged by emotion. It reminds me so many memories, 15 years ago, my youth, my first love, my pain and so on… I’ve always consider music as the reflect of the soul and Interpol’s music illustrates perfectly my feelings about the past decades.
The band chains up brightly the eleven songs of “TOTBL”, from the melancholic “NYC” to the forgotten “Leif Erikson”. During “Roland” the group starts smiling a bit and exposes an apparent motion as far as the lyrics pace speeds up. I listen to their debut album with nostalgia and joy. At the end of “TOTBL” the audience starts singing “Happy Birthday”. To finish the intimate show, Paul, Sam and Daniel choose to sing the rare B-side “Specialist” and “The Heinrich Maneuver” for the encore. They conclude with “Evil”, a track from 2004’s “Antics” that remains one of the most energetic moments because at the very end, the 30-plus-aged crowd finally founds its collective voice to sing along.
The show is finished, the band has left the stage after the applause but I don’t want to leave now. I am pretty sure to be deaf but I want more : in front of the stage I litterally implore the roadie to give me the setlist on his feet. With the precious paper in my hands, I get out of the place with jubilation!
But the tour bus is still standing in the street and I can’t resign myself to go back to the hotel. So I wait at the door until the band gets out by chance. And my patience is rewarded when Daniel Kessler and Paul Banks naturally come to talk to some fans standing outside. I walk across the people to approach them, with my setlist and a pencil, and ask Paul if he doesn’t mind sign the setlist and take a picture side by side with me. At this precise moment I feel dazzled and confused, I think I am so childish and at the same time I realize that this concert is going to be one of the best moments of my life! Daniel is still standing beside his mate looking at me and I succeed in asking him the same whereas the bodyguards are getting restless. He keeps my pencil in the wake and they go backstage.
Back at my hotel, I don’t realize what has happened, I fool around because I obviously can’t sleep. I perpetually ask my boyfriend to show me the clichés on his smartphone and keep the setlist like a treasure in my luggage. I have met my idols this time and nothing will be the same from now on.