INTERPOL with MODEL CHILDREN and HOTEL at the Horseshoe, September 28. Tickets: $10. Attendance: Sold out. Rating: NNN
All hail the second coming of the 80s hair band. Wait, it's not what you think. I ain't talkin' about the Poison school of over-sprayed and -bleached split-end metalheads. The new wave of uniformly coiffed musicians have, well, New Wave hair. To the ranks of Robert Smith and Flock of Seagulls, add all four members of NYC nouveau moody indie rock outfit Interpol.
Bathed in pools of subterranean blue light, wearing snazzy black suits 'n' ties and asymmetrical 'dos, the Great Dark Hope for the future of pop music (once the Strokes are done saving rock and roll) conveyed a sombre vibe to match their lush, epic sound. They're a slightly less depressed Depeche Mode fronted by a youthful Morrissey.
The Horseshoe was crammed with a weird mix of indie kids sporting Trail of Dead T-shirts, sculpture-haired and black-eyelinered post-goths, and industry types looking to hitch a ride on the tidal wave of underground hype trailing Interpol like toilet paper on a motorcycle boot. Thing is, the band's worthy of the buzz.
They launched into a solid wall of resonant chimey guitar chords, a stunning two-axe attack by Gibson-toting frontman Paul Banks and founding Interpoliceman Daniel Kessler, who wrung beautiful riffs out of his cherry-red Rickenbacker.
With minimal banter and poker-faced seriousness, they went through a 10-song set of tunes from their gorgeously atmospheric Turn On The Bright Lights disc, playing with feedback and overlapped guitar riffs.
Some say the New Wave sheen on Turn On The Bright Lights comes from the work of engineers Peter Katis and Gareth Jones, who brought the same gloomy sweep to Depeche Mode and Nick Cave. But I don't think so -- Interpol are the real deal.
Their intense energy was definitely welcome after a flailing, weak set by Montreal's Model Children. The six-piece spazz-rock band's vaguely funky post-punk tunes seemed to sprawl on for hours. Boys, self-restraint is a powerful tool -- learn to use it.