IT was almost as if Interpol had lodged a request with mother nature. Just hours before showtime a cool change swept across Sydney, replacing the oppressive heat with rain and stormy clouds.
For a band that has spent 17 years basking in the gloom, the grey atmosphere that hung around Circular Quay was perfectly placed.
It had been eight years and two albums since Interpol had performed at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre and expectations were high for the New York indie-rockers following last year’s Marauder, their best album since 2007’s Our Love To Admire.
There’s a cold and almost clinical atmosphere created at a Interpol performance. It’s in frontman Paul Banks’ robotic baritone, the angular guitar riffs of Daniel Kessler and in the dark and brooding lighting that kept the band masked from the audience for the majority of the set.
The more formal surrounds of the seated Sydney Opera House further added to a sense of dislocation between band and audience. Interpol enticed us and moved us, but never truly allowed the crowd a look behind their mystique.
But Interpol have never been concerned with theatrics. They as performers are secondary to creating intense and emotional soundscapes.
Long-term fans couldn’t fault the set list. Australia missed Interpol’s 15-year anniversary tour for their debut Turn On The Bright Lights in 2017, but there were numerous cuts from the seminal release, including Roland, Leif Erikson, Say Hello To The Angels and a stirring rendition of NYC.
New track If You Really Love Nothing breathed with life in a live setting through Interpol’s rollicking rhythm section, while Marauder’s lead single The Rover was met with strong applause. Proof Interpol’s latest material is still engaging their audience.
Yet it was Interpol’s first major Australian hit Slow Hands, from 2004’s Antics, which finally cast off the austere mood of the Opera House.
As Kessler launched into the driving riff and Banks followed with, “Can't you see what you've done to my heart/And soul?/This is a wasteland now,” the crowd stood united and sang.
The momentum was maintained throughout the encore as the crowd stood and sang Not Even Jail, the anthemic Evil and the closing Obstacle 1.