Interpol April 15, Boulevard Pool
For a place that suggests comfort and relaxation, the Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool required endurance from both its audience and performers last Wednesday, when alt-rock act Interpol headlined the fourth-story venue for the second time in eight months. In an instance of Alanis Morissette-style irony, Las Vegas’ wintertime chill and gusts showed up four months late, plaguing a setting that has historically faltered during inclement weather. (Wind prevented Lykke Li’s concert scheduled the night before from happening.) And it took the soundman almost four songs to make singer Paul Banks acceptably audible, another habitual issue concertgoers have frequently encountered at the otherwise beloved venue.
The gig was far from lost, though. Having become a well-oiled performance machine over the past 13 years—dating back to the NYC-based band’s 2002 breakthrough debut, Turn on the Bright Lights—and specifically during the current tour promoting its fifth album, 2014’s El Pintor, Interpol itself suffered few missteps. When we could hear him, Banks sang with enthusiastic vigor. Lead guitarist Daniel Kessler’s assertive but emotive riffs felt like warm respite from the brisk air. And underrated drummer Sam Fogarino impressively charged through standards like “Take You on a Cruise” and “Not Even Jail,” two of five performed tracks from Interpol’s sophomore album, Antics.
The band largely—and wisely—balanced the setlist between its three aforementioned (and best) albums, with the El Pintor tracks being the most robustly executed and sounding the most vital. Gems like “My Desire,” “Anywhere” and “All the Rage Back Home” highlighted not only the trio’s reliable songwriting prowess, but its stubborn will to keep waving the post-punk flag—even when it’s no longer the rage to do so.