Interpol / Q And Not U - live in Niagara Falls (Cover Artwork)

Interpol / Q And Not U

live in Niagara Falls (2005)

live show

Ah, Interpol. What can you say about them? They wear expensive suits, the singer sounds just like Ian Curtis, the bass player looks kind of like Frankenstein. Uh...what else? Oh yeah...they're not punk. Thanks. I'm glad we got that out of the way.

I was expecting this to be good: two of my favorite bands playing less than fifteen miles from the house I grew up in. It was better than I expected. We got there a little less than ninety minutes early; there were only about five people waiting at that time. It was freezing cold and they wouldn't let us in, even though Ticketmaster said we could go in an hour early. To pass the time I spoke with some "fashionistas" (their word) who had driven eight hours from New York City and tried to hold back my snickers. I guess that's the type of people you'd expect at an Interpol show. The show was at the Dome Theatre, a converted old night club, just minutes away from the Canada/US border. It was an interesting venue, with a balcony, elevated areas to the left and right and a bar running down the middle of the floor. I really liked it, and I'd definitely go back if anyone worth seeing plays there again. The wait was bad, but my promptness paid off. I was right up front and centre, the best seat in the house.

Everyone started to fill in; excitement was building. We were waiting for the first band, Q And Not U. I've always liked them, always thought they were good and not great, but that they had potential and we haven't seen the best of them yet. Underwhelmingly, the band members would sporadically come on stage and arrange things. No one really knew if it was them or not; there was a smattering of applause each time, and I'd agree that it was hard to tell. Chris Richards did disguise himself with a hat, glasses, and many scarves at that time. When everything was finally set up, they picked up their instruments and proceeded to blow us all away. They opened with "Tag-Tag," then "Wet Work," two of the better songs off their latest album Power. The sound was really tight, especially John Davis' drums, which were outstanding. The crowd was a little unresponsive at first, but then Chris reminded us that "this is dancing music, and if you feel it in your legs then go with it." He was definitely leading by example. They played more from Power like "Wonderful People," "Book Of Flags," and "X-Polynation" and busted out favorites like "Soft Pyramids," "So Many Animal Calls," "Black Plastic Bag," and "A Line In The Sand." One thing I was impressed with was the constant switching of instruments. Both Chris and Harris Klahr played guitar, bass, synth, as well as sharing the singing duties. A few times they'd even trade instruments in the middle of a song. Chris also played some sort of little piano thing that you had to blow into as well; if it has a name, I don't know it. The only bad things were that the microphones were a little quiet, so you couldn't really hear the vocals (that may have been their intention though), they didn't play "LAX," and Chris' political rant about five songs in. He picked up a copy of the Buffalo News and read us part of an article about George W. Bush's plan for arctic drilling being rejected or something; it wasn't really clear, and reminded us (the mostly Canadian audience) that "this guy is around for four more years, but he's not a juggernaut." All in all it was a great performance; they got everyone moving and surely made some new fans. I'd highly recommend catching them if you can.

Now, Interpol is a classy band, surely we can all agree on that. The suits, the haircuts, come on. Their fans don't fall short in that department either. The suspense seemed to be killing everyone, and we all have different ways of showing that, I suppose. Some people were clapping, stomping, and chanting. Some were discussing songs that they hoped to be played: "If they don't play 'Take You On A Cruise' I'll cry," that sort of thing. Some were pissing on the floor. Yes, that's right. Two guys whipped 'em out right there and pissed on the floor and, I'd assume, the people in their general vicinity. Classy. It caused quite a commotion, as nobody wanted their suit to be ruined or hair messed up. But the culprits were eventually found and kicked out.

Interpol finally came out and the crowd exploded with applause. Sam Fogarino, Daniel Kessler, and Paul Banks all waved and said thanks. The only member who seemed to hold the band's supposed arrogance was bass player Carlos D., who was wearing knee-high leather boots and a gun holster, and didn't look one member of the audience in the eye the whole show. They opened with "Next Exit," but that was just to set the mood, and followed with "Slow Hands" and "NARC" next. All of the instruments were right on, especially Carlos' bass. He was definitely rocking out and posing for the photographer who was taking pictures during the first three songs. Interpol has quite an amazing light show at their shows, which created a really great atmosphere and I'm sure made for some great photographs. Paul's vocals were crystal clear and soaring, nothing like Q And Not U. The guitars were also much more noticeable, compared to the more rhythm section-based sound they have on their albums. They played all of the fan favorites like "Evil," "Take You On A Cruise," "Leif Eriksson," and "PDA." Just about everything off of their latest album Antics was played. The band seemed to be having fun, smiling and talking to each other a lot. Carlos gave Sam the finger at one point. The highlights of the performance were the highly energetic "Say Hello To The Angels" and "Evil," which got one of the biggest crowd responses. They also played a three-song encore. The only bad thing was that they didn't play my three favorite songs. I saw the set list and they were planning to play "Roland" (my favorite), but throughout the night, especially during the encore, everyone was chanting "Stella," so they talked it over and finished with "Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down," which I have to admit was pretty great. They waved goodbye after that, and Sam threw his drumsticks into the audience and I got one. Q And Not U were quite an act to follow, but Interpol blew away their amazing performance. Maybe on the albums they sound a little sterile, but live they're just so powerful and energetic. They're one of the best live bands I've ever seen, and this was one of my favorite shows ever.

Set list:

  • Next Exit
  • Slow Hands
  • NARC
  • Length Of Love
  • Say Hello To The Angels
  • Public Pervert
  • Not Even Jail
  • Leif Eriksson
  • Evil
  • NYC
  • Take You On A Cruise
  • PDA
  • The Specialist
  • Obstacle 1
  • Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down