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Interpol At Madison Square Garden, Saturday, February 16th, 2019, Reviewed

Interpol’s Marauder tour ended Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, a mega Mecca room where bands measure their penises to see how they can fill up the 20K seater and with swathes of the venue empty, Interpol simply can’t and what is worse, don’t deserve to. A tight knit rock band with the sort of moodiness you might get if you added Depeche Mode to Joy Division, the performance was a brooding, self-aware dance through their latest album and their backpages. But if Travis Scott overkilled with a rollercoaster inside the venue, Interpol underwhelmed without any close circuit TV and only a mirror ball to signify.

Two first rate opening acts (both would be welcomed at Brooklyn Steel) and  all three bands are on Independent label Matador Records, set the tone for a better evening than we ended up getting. Snail Mail is headed by Lindsey Jordan,another lesbian teen, and though her chosen group monicker suggest misandry par excellence, on stage she is less the hushed lustiness of Julien Baker, and more  a 90s style wall of sound though in a lo fi manner. Much better than I expected.

I expected great things from Car Seat Headrest after catching em at Governors Ball in 2016 (here), a loud, extremely energetic indie rock burst of energy with everybody smacking metal with drumsticks and the lead singer and guitarist Will Toledo and guitarist Ethan Ives proving something both Kings Of Leon and the Strokes have failed to at this venue: if the performance is big enough you can fill the place by sheer willpower.

Something Interpol also failed to prove it. New York’s own, Interpol were part of the turn of the century scene that gave us LCD Soundsystem, the Strokes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and a couple of others. A small, insulated scene which recamped to Brooklyn and for awhile made NYC the center of the indie scene before receding again. Interpol have a sound that discounts melody for rhythm ready hard rock songs with mood to spare. I thought they were terrible Saturday night, an invisible, distant band way out of their element.

However, on getting home I listened to the set again and without iciness they sounded better. Interpol are really local heroes and so there is even less of an urge to throw up your hands, but it is still inexcusable not to perform for the rafters, but rather in lights that are bright and then not at all bright where the folks in the peanut gallery move their hips or twiddle their thumbs.

Grade: B-

 

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