Interpol LIVE at Thalia Hall 07/31/2014
Chicagoans treasure the summer months, not just because of the reprieve from brutal midwestern winters, but because of the onslaught of live music, much of it free. Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest top the list for many, but unlike the city-hosted events (e.g. Chicago’s popular Downtown Sounds), these shows carry a hefty price tag. As of late, concert goers haven’t needed to save up all their precious pennies to catch their favorite national acts on summer tour as festival after-parties and now, pre-parties, headlined by popular artists, dominate the scene. I’m not sure how touring acts are circumventing the radius clauses put into place to limit multiple performances, but Chicago music lovers aren’t complaining.
In late July, Spin Magazine held a Lollapalooza kick off party at Chicago’s newest venue, Thalia Hall. Headlining the party: New York’s suit-wearing indie rockers, Interpol. Also on the bill were Wildcat! Wildcat!, a synth-pop band hailing from LA, and Chicago’s Gemini Club.
This was a free show to fans who RSVPed and arrived early enough. By 7:30pm the hall was at capacity. For those lucky enough to get in, they were welcomed with a performance by opener, Wildcat! Wildcat! A four-piece pop band, Wildcat! Wildcat! played reflective and tidy pop songs that seemed to please the young crowd. Next up was Chicago’s Gemini Club whose lead man commanded attention with his height, pastel pants and dock-siders.
I planted myself facing stage right. As Interpol fans know, it’s the Daniel Kessler side of the stage. He’s fascinating to watch. Especially intriguing, are his guitar-playing mannerisms, which are accompanied by some combination of Charleston and reactive funk dance moves that leave his legs kicking suddenly out to the side.
Interpol opened with “Come Say Hello to the Angels,” their most frequently performed song. They played 15 songs in total, offering up all the older favorites to the crowd, including the wonderfully tender song, “NYC,” and “Leif Erikson,” a song in which Kessler clearly reveals his affinity for U2’s “Unforgettable Fire.”
This was my first time seeing them since bassist Carlos D. left the band. Dave Pajo seems to be a suitable replacement. Also on stage, was keyboardist Brandon Curtis of Secret Machines fame. Interpol has established themselves as a solid live band who continues to deliver elegant, gloom-tinged music. Passion, which they generously share with their fans, remains at the core of their music. To boot, they are good-natured, charming people.
They performed a two-song encore, closing with “Slow Hands,” an energetic favorite with compelling lines, like: “When the loving that you wasted comes raining from a hapless cloud.” The crowd happily sang along. It was another great night in Chicago thanks to Spin, Interpol and Thalia Hall.
On a side note, these festival parties often attract local and national talent. Actor Michael Shannon, who thrilled Lou Reed fans recently by performing all of Blue Mask with Robbie Fulks and company at the Hideout, sat perched in the balcony (non-Kessler side). And Josh Chicoine, formerly of the M’s and now heading up the local supergroup, Sabers, also came out to check out Interpol.
This has been a strong summer, musically, for Chicago… and it’s not over yet!