Interpol @ O2 Academy, Leeds, 25 Jun

Evergreen New Yorkers Interpol continue to ooze class after two decades together

Live Review by Joe Goggins | 02 Jul 2019
  • Interpol live at SWG3 (Glw), 26 May

For Interpol, the more things change, the more they stay the same. On Friday, they’ll headline Glastonbury’s John Peel Stage, scheduled against Stormzy and Tame Impala. The former is riding the crest of a cultural wave that’s positioning him as the voice of a new generation; the latter have shifted shape constantly, from psychedelic oddities to arena-crushing rockers and back again. For those more interested in timelessness, though, the Peel Stage will serve as something of a cocoon.

It looks more and more as if Interpol knew they were tapping into something evergreen with Turn On the Bright Lights in 2002. This kind of stately, atmospheric indie rock never goes out of fashion, just like the impeccably sharp suits that guitarist Daniel Kessler has worn on stage since day one, and that frontman Paul Banks and bassist Brad Truax have adopted on this tour too. Just looking at them tonight in Leeds is itself a symphony in rock'n'roll permanence, from Banks’ jet-black aviators to the moody stage lighting and ominous red INTERPOL lettering on the backdrop.

That’s before the band rattle through a greatest hits set in which the newer cuts serve only to accentuate the lasting brilliance of Bright Lights and their second LP, Antics. The likes of the fraught The Rover, the brooding If You Really Love Nothing and Fine Mess, taken from last month’s A Fine Mess EP, are cut from the same cloth as the classic likes of Slow Hands and Obstacle 1. Yet they feel imbued with the same urgency and vitality is testament to the fact that the New Yorkers struck upon both a sound and aesthetic that was never likely to be withered by the passing of years.

Even when Banks is appropriating the washed-up prizefighter (All the Rage Back Home) or reflecting on the slipping away of his youth (Lights), he still oozes menace. Fashions come and go. Interpol remain unmoved by them.