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Interpol at Rock En Seine, Saturday, August 29th, 2015, Reviewed

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Rock en Seine is the last festival of the summer series in France, happening late August after “Les Eurockéennes” of Belfort, the “Mainsquare Festival” in Arras (near Lille) and the “Cabaret Vert” in Charleville-Mézières. Since 2003 this event takes place along the shore of the Seine river in a west district of Paris and gathers 120,000 people, from the Parisian bourgeoisie to foreign tourists visiting the French capital city. During three days, the botanical park of Saint Cloud, landscaped by the famous gardener Le Nôtre during the 17 th century, changes his face to a “BOBO” fest and welcomes famous rock bands, electro DJs and French singers with a new album release to promote.

This year, Interpol was playing for their second time in Rock en Seine after their first time in 2011, opening the Saturday evening of the fest. As the night was falling, Paul Banks and his formation came on stage starting with “Say Hello to the Angels”. It was the first time I was attending a concert beginning this way but I have to say that this song reflected the Interpol “sound” very well for the non-aficionados crowd. The back of the stage was decorated with 2 black and white joined hands, which is in fact the cover art of their 5th album “El Pintor” released in 2014. Their latest chapter is an evocative anagram since it marks the rearrangement of the four-piece into three, after Carlos Dengler (bass guitar) left in 2010.

Nevertheless, the setlist had less than 4 songs of their last LP : “Anywhere”, “My Blue Supreme” (not my favorite because it’s too slow and too homogeneous), “Everything Is Wrong” and “All the Rage Back Home”. The band mostly played old songs (for the personal pleasure of old fans like me!). I have to say that I have been following Interpol since almost twelve years now and I have seen them 4 times in concerts, and one thing I know about this is that the first rows of fans love to hear the same old tunes! So I was more than happy to listen to “Evil”, “Length of Love” and “Rest My Chemistry”, respectively from the  nd and the 3rd albums, masterpieces as far as I am concerned.

Despite  a group of fanatics, planted just under the mic, the crowd was composed of curious people and Pete Doherty’s fans waiting for the Libertines set just after Interpol on the main stage. The band delivered a quite classical performance without ever managing to fire the crowd. Finally Paul Banks seemed a little bit shy during the set whereas Daniel Kessler seemed to lose his ability on the chords at times!

The set ended with 3 major songs which finally pleased the crowd : “Slow Hands”, “PDA” and “Obstacle 1” to close. After a show which hardly lasted one hour, Paul Banks thanked the people for being there. It’s a pity that he did not say any words in French because I remember that he studied in Paris when he was younger and I am sure he would have pleased the French audience! Shows are always too short in festivals like these because they are timed with a stopwatch, but for my  4th time I enjoyed a magical moment between cold wave music, ecstatic memories and Ian Curtis reincarnation. It’s quite true that not many bands have the caliber and consistency of Interpol. These New Yorkers and their British singer have a whole collection of songs divided into five incredibly classy albums. I just hope that many Europeans were able to discover them during their summer tour, which has just ended in Rock en Seine, Paris, France.

Setlist :
Say Hello to the Angels
My Blue Supreme
Take You on a Cruise
Rest My Chemistry
Everything Is Wrong
The New
Length of Love
All the Rage Back Home
Slow Hands
Obstacle 1

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