Interpol with Ladytron
Apollo Theatre, Manchester
Tuesday July 8th, 2008
At first, Ladytron are a revelation. I only know 17, and in declining to play it I was instead temporarily drawn into a world I know nothing about – electro. Barely lit, Ladytron use the darkness to create underworlds of oft-ear splitting sounds courtesy of synths, samplers and a whole host of other knob-twiddling boxes.
But three songs in the revelation is over and I'm left bored. The singers seem to repeat the same song over and over again – well, similar intonation at least – and even the bassist looks uninterested, not even a sway to give him away. Thankfully, their set is succinct, and the sell-out crowd politely claps them off.
Interpol, swathed in red light, begin Pioneer To The Falls in a murky, psychedelic fashion to a backdrop of blurred visuals. The crowd respond accordingly – holding up mobile phones and digital cameras to capture the moment.
A quick transition into Slow Hands ensures that phones and cameras are rapidly put away, and dancing ensues. And nobody can rival the dancing of Interpol’s guitarist. Starting off with mechanical head shakes that seem to be in time with nothing but his own metronome, he suddenly progresses into ballroom steps and glides about the stage in a furious manner. There are times when his ankles seem to be on the brink of splintering as he teeters on his cartledge.
That’s the thing about Interpol – they’re not charismatic in the conventional band/audience way, with cleverly concocted witticisms or rock'n'roll behaviour. But their shows are still that: a show, as opposed to a showcase of songs. OK, so the dramatic light, what little of it there was, and the visuals and natty dressing will have something to do with that, but Interpol have that air of mysticism which will keep listeners and viewers enthralled. The surprisingly loyal fanbase is testament.
Perhaps it’s because the band seem like a collection of individuals, as opposed to a backdrop to a striking frontman. Drummers aren’t always known for oozing allure, yet Interpol’s Sam Fogarino is captivating. There’s something of a mechanical caveman about him, his large build hunched over the kit, registered heavy-handedness with such delicate precision.
And with my breath still recovering from set highlight, the mafia-inspired The Lighthouse, the band encore with NYC, leaving ears ringing for 24 hours.
words: Sophie Parkes