Gig Reviews, Dublin, RDS

11

Interpol (live in The RDS, Dublin)

Interpol LiveReview Snapshot: There are certain ingredients that, when combined in appropriate quantities, make the gig going experience more enjoyable. Personally, I find the best gigs combine a good helping of cold beer, a sprinkling of atmosphere and a bucketful of songs, all mixed together in a decent venue. It's a pity then that Interpol only got two of the four right tonight, and they weren't even serving the beer.

The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10

Full Review:
For weeks there has been a little voice inside my head telling me not to go to Interpol tonight. As is often the recommended course of action, I ignored it. I also ignored the fact that the gig was taking place in the RDS a venue that, despite attending more gigs than my otologist would deem safe, I had yet to attend. You see, the Royal Dublin Society and I have history.

 Those of you who’ve left school or college recently will be more than familiar with the RDS as the designated venue for a succession of dull employment and further education seminars. I used to hate these days with a passion matched only by my love of Athletic Bilbao and music.  However, it appeared that I was destined to be dragged along by one Career Guidance Councillor after another. ‘What would you like to do after college?’ they’d ask. No matter my reply, from ‘I’d like to herd lama’s in the Peru’ to ‘I want to spend my working day writing for CLUAS', said Councillor would say ‘Oh, great, well there’s the perfect seminar on in the RDS this weekend, I’ll bring you.’

 And that’s what the RDS is; a seminar venue. It has all the charm of a mugger and all the subtIety of Las Vegas.  It’s not appropriate as a music venue and it’s not an appropriate setting for seeing your favourite band. Up until tonight that’s exactly what Interpol were, but after a lack lustre performance I’m no longer sure. The songs were tight and the sound was excellent, but if I wanted to hear Interpol play the songs exactly as I'd heard them on my MP3 on the way in, I’d have stayed on the bus.

 A set that started so promisingly with Pioneer to The Falls and Obstacle 1 just failed to ignite. Anytime momentum built, such as when crowd favourites Evil and The Heinrich Maneuver were played back to back, Paul Banks and Co. would conspire to pull back and play a slower track. It was almost as if they were afraid of bringing the roof down, as Kings of Leon managed earlier this week.  Banks looked as if he'd been dragged along to one of the aforementioned seminars and seemed more intent on racing through the set-list – 15 songs in one hour – than building up a rapport with the audience. Cool, disinterested stares are all well and good for the front of Rolling Stone, but when hundreds of punters have paid close to €50 to see you the least they can expect back is an acknowledgement of their presence.

Despite all of this, the performance of each individual song cannot be faulted; Slow Hands and No I in Threesome being particular highlights. But, as those of you who attend more than one gig a year know, it takes more than just good songs to make a good gig. Great gigs, the ones that leave you grinning like an idiot when you think about them weeks, months, even years later, leave you covered in sweat, down on your knees and begging for more.  Tonight, Interpol showed up and delivered a performance that was as forgettable as that other thing, you know the one, with the hair, no?

Overall, as my Guidance Councillor said far too often, ‘Must try harder.’

There are certain ingredients that, when combined in appropriate quantities, make the gig going experience more enjoyable. Personally, I find the best gigs combine a good helping of cold beer, a sprinkling of atmosphere and a bucketful of songs, all mixed together in a decent venue. It’s a pity then that Interpol only got two of the four right tonight, and they weren’t even serving the beer.

Steven O'Rourke


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