New York gloom rockers Interpol have finally made it back to Toronto. They were suppose to have played The Sound Academy back in January, but they had the terrible misfortune of being on tour in Buffalo at the time of a massive snowstorm and wound up being stranded on their tour bus, on the highway for three days! So since The Sound Academy has closed in the interim, a change of venue became necessary…enter The Danforth Music Hall and its two sold-out shows. To say that the band is well-rehearsed at this point would be a massive understatement; they have been on the road since September, following the release of their fifth long-player El Pintor.

The band played in front of a backdrop that initially displayed the cover art of the new album, but would later give way to random visual effects that were both complimenting and artistically pleasing. The lighting for this show deserves special mention. Not since Nine Inch Nails have I seen a lighting show that was this stunning!

Any Interpol show is going to rely heavily on the band’s first two records, Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics…and certainly this one would be no different. Starting with the very Smithsish sounding “Say Hello To The Angels” and then later with “Evil” and “Hands Away”, the group was aiming to please and the audience was eagerly accepting of favourites from the early days. The crowd knew the lyrics like the back of their hands, but Paul Banks’ vocals were buried too deep in the mix to hear them.

All evening long it was impossible not to admire the power and dexterity of Sam Fogarino’s drumming…at times it threatened to overtake the proceedings. He was taking simple fills and working them to the hilt and even his routine time-keeping was something to behold. Lead guitars are handled by Daniel Kessler but he doesn’t play classic lead parts, his are more mood oriented or artistic riffs that have a way of sticking with you long after you first heard them.

It wasn’t just about the old hits though, the band also played the somber “My Blue Supreme” and the energetic “Everything Is Wrong” off El Pintor to good effect. In fact, it was a shame that Interpol didn’t feel the need to showcase more songs off the new record because it’s certainly deserving of it. This new offering is a welcome return to form of angular rock hooks and moody reflections that the self-titled release from 2010 simply did not have.

It was a set that touched on every record in the band’s catalogue and that included “Rest My Chemistry” and “Pioneer To The Falls” from the over-looked third album, Our Love To Admire. But as probably could have been predicted, Interpol chose to close with two more from Turn On The Bright Lights: “Leif Erickson” and fan favourite “Obstacle 1.”

Interpol burst on to the music scene thirteen years ago with a record that perfectly captured their sound and presentation…so much so that it threatened to confine them to that one moment in time. In spite of the fact that some music critics haven’t been able to move past that stellar beginning, the band has

managed to forge a stellar body of work that deserves equal time and billing…there’s more to Interpol than Turn On The Bright Lights!

- Johnny Hooper