Considering the bashing Interpol has taken over the years for lacking onstage personality, the indie-rock juggernauts might have been more prudent about their latest choice of support acts. Though Liars emerged from the same turn-of-the-millennium New York City scene that spawned their headlining bill-mates, the rowdy noisemakers’ opening set Monday reminded us about everything that Interpol lacks live. Hell, Liars frontman Angus Andrew even performed in an all-white suit, the ultimate fashion contrast to Interpol’s all-black scheme.
Predictably, few in a late-arriving crowd that eventually filled half the room bothered to give Liars much notice, and a fair number of those who did appeared horrified by Andrew’s provocative dance moves and the four-piece band’s cacophonous music, some actually going so far as to plug their ears with their fingers.
Regardless of what anyone thought of Liars’ percussion-loaded, guitar-squealing mayhem, however, there’s no denying that Andrew delivered more energy and charisma than all of Interpol combined, or that Liars packed more spontaneity and drama into 40 minutes than Interpol managed in 90.
Not than Interpol sounded bad. The gothy post-punk revivalists were tight as f--k, reeling off tunes from new disc Our Love to Admire, along with selections from older albums Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics, with the greatest of arena-trained ease. In particular, an encore featuring non-LP concert rarity “Specialist” and choice early cuts “Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down” and “PDA” demonstrated that singer Paul Banks, guitarist Daniel Kessler, bassist Carlos D., drummer Sam Fogarino and that touring keyboardist they won’t let into the band really know their songs. A little too well.
Seriously guys, how about a dropped lyric or some mic feedback to let us know you’re human? If we wanted by-the-book album versions we’d just, you know, play the album. Sure, sure, Kessler took an extra-long pause midway through “PDA,” but it’s the same extra-long pause he’s been taking for years. And we’d lay money that the groovy little segue between “Stella” and “PDA” is the same groovy little segue they’ve been playing each and every night this tour.
We’re not asking Interpol to be a jam band; God forbid. But how about allowing a little recklessness to permeate all that perfection? Better yet, how about taking lessons from Angus Andrew?
Interpol with Liars ***
The Joint, October 22