Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interlude: Time Is My Vessel

It’s been a long while since I was last at MSG. The world’s most famous area (TM) is, of course, not the ideal place to see a show, but certain circumstances (e.g. my love and/or admiration of Interpol) meant that I simply had to be there on Friday. As always, I’m a bit taken aback of the sheer scale of the place, but by the end of the night, it really felt as if I had been part of something momentous. Despite our somewhat detached view of the stage, the gratuitous ticket price was worthwhile.

(Incidentally, does anyone know anything about the policy of general admission? Are tickets available to the general public, how much are they compared to the normal price, how awesome was the pit on Friday, et cetera?)


Liars were, as expected, difficult. I had read a variety of sources vouching for their inaccessibility, but I think their set was as much a product of the setting as the source material. They thrashed around mostly unintelligibly; about halfway through I realized there were two drummers, and that was probably the most exciting part of the whole experience. The band simply isn’t at a point where they can capture the attention of even the scattered few that were there during their set, and at times, things were downright painful. Their recent self-titled release has garnered praise, and I’ll try to give it a shot, but a la Animal Collective, I’ll probably be avoiding their shows in the future.

Official Site: Liars

Cat Power

Cat Power was a perfect salve. Chan Marshall, along with the Dirty Delta Blues, opened up with “The Greatest,” and while I didn’t recognize much of the rest of the set, it was lovely even to my unfamiliar ears. Unfettered by instrument, Chan dashed throughout the stage, often crooning alarmingly close to the edge, making me increasingly jealous of the crowd below. The Dirty Delta Blues kept an intelligent restraint, their instruments never overpowering Chan’s vocals in the mix. It’d be bizarre if Chan were to open for Interpol in any extended context, but for one night, it made total sense. I still wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan in that I remain a neophyte as far as album material, but I’d love to see her again in a more intimate venue.

MySpace: Cat Power
Official Site: Cat Power


Many of the same elements that made Interpol's Virgin Festival set so mind-blowing were intact: the incredibly tight band, spot-on vocals from Paul Banks, and simply they played some of my favorite songs. However, the drama of the Garden really added something, if only because I haven't heard that many people freak out at a concert. Staple opener “Pioneer To The Falls” kicked things off, followed by the relentless “Obstacle 1.” The band appeared behind a curious light screen for these two songs, but thankfully cast it down afterwards.

Cuts from Our Love To Admire were accompanied by lush shots of wildlife, but they didn’t stand out too much amidst the band’s stark staples, and the heart of their set blended together in a very enjoyable and head-bobbing manner. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of the new album, mostly because of other stuff/ older stuff distracting me. But perhaps this lack of interest is somewhat indicative of an album that's unfortunately surpassed by its predecessors - I think we're mostly in agreement there. However, back in the day, I mostly latched onto the singles of Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics, only later returning to the entire album and pretty much loving everything. So, it's feasible that the same process will happen in the future with Our Love.

The encores were perhaps the high points of the night. The song that I was most anticipating – “NYC” – was an epic slow burner, and I'm glad I heard it for the first time in the place of topic (it wasn't played at V-Fest). “Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down” was a great surprise, although it did cause explosives gestures of goodwill on my right (you know who you are!). The band broke into an instrumental groove afterwards, Sam Fogarino’s hypnotic drumming driving the band into the opening guitar licks of “PDA,” which was just as good the second time around. And while they didn’t play “Roland” or “Specialist,” the selection for the second encore - “Untitled” - was a fitting summation of their triumphant return: “I will surprise you sometime/I’ll come around.” Damn right.

Here’s the band’s semi-recent set at Lollapalooza, or at least most of it. “Obstacle 1” should definitely be there, but isn't. Any word if the MSG show was taped?

1. Pioneer To The Falls
2. Slow Hands
3. Narc
4. Say Hello To The Angels
5. Rest My Chemistry
6. Mammoth
7. Hands Away
8. No I In Threesome
9. The Heinrich Manuever
10. Evil
11. Not Even Jail
12. PDA
13. NYC

MySpace: Interpol
Official Site: Interpol


matt said...

excellent review roland. i'm now officially more excited about seeing them on November 30.

Anonymous said...

hawwtt, did they play "not even jail"

peace out

Christy T. said...

Oh come on. "Explosive good will?" It was joy and you should not be so scared of hugging. Good review- the show was awesome.

Pzilla said...

Thanks for the reviews and tunes. Going to see Interpol and the Liars tonight; sounds like it'll be good times. Though it's disappointing to read bad reviews of the Liars everywhere. I guess if I show late, I won't be missing anything.

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