October 24, 2004

why can't we just play the other game?

Last night was a show of pleasant surprises; I walked in to the Commodore, out of the rain, and ambled up just in time to catch the Secret Machines. They weren't mind-blowing, and I'd heard the album before (and was okay with it) but to hear them play it live removed some of the prog-wank overtones, because they were a blast to watch. They opened with the First Wave Intact, a long, drawn out opening that leads into frenetic drumming and typical alt-rock, made all the more enjoyable by the visuals. I didn't know the songs through the rest of the set, but I liked what I did hear; the musicians kept the crowd interested both musically and visually, and the crowd was sparse enough that it was possible to weave through holes and get closer to the stage. Between sets, I discovered that I was standing directly behind Sean Owen, which made it really funny when he sent me a text message and I shouted a response. Jordie and I made our way over to him, which put us about 5 rows back and smack in the middle, which gave me a decent spot from which to take photos.

Interpol was definitely dancier than I expected; after opening with Last Exit (which appears to be the new song to sing along to), Obstacle 1, Evil, and Say Hello to the Angels got the crowd moving, and kept them bobbing through Not Even Jail and Leif Erikson. The other big singalong came to NYC, and Slow Hands and PDA rounded out the first set. The encore consisted of Stella and Roland, both of which had everyone dancing, swaying and singing along at the appropriate moments.

Performance-wise, they were what I expected; the lead singer (Paul) didn't move around very much (and wore a dopey hat, to be honest), and the rest of the band wasn't cement-footed, but they weren't exactly The Darkness, either. Two things that sort of bugged me; the drummer(Sam) was way too far back, not on a riser, and shrouded in smoke - I enjoy watching drummers ply their craft, and seeing as Interpol's drummer is very good, I was annoyed at not being able to see him. The other was that the drums weren't high enough in the mix, meaning that they lost the punch that they usually have, which sucked. Other than that things were really good; sometime during the set, Graham messaged me from backstage because he was working the show; I asked him for a setlist, and he delivered later on, much to the chagrin of a pair of bizarrely dressed girls who were absolutely puzzled as to how "he asked me first" when all I'd done was yell at him. Fantastic.

I also wanted them to play Specialist, but I didn't think they would and I was right. No grudges*, my ass!

Anyway, here's some photos:

And here's the setlist:
  • Next Exit
  • Obstacle 1
  • Evil
  • Say Hello To The Angels
  • Public Pervert
  • NARC
  • Not Even Jail
  • NYC
  • Slow Hands
  • PDA
  • Stella was a Diver
  • Roland

*when Interpol was here in 2002, their guitars were stolen. They came back, so their grudge isn't that big, but given we got a set with nothing particularly rare, I think it's still in effect.

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