Guest Show Review
You remember silly putty. And how you could press it on a picture in a magazine and then stretch out the face into some humorous abstraction of the original. Well imagine pressing some silly putty on a life size version of Mick Jagger. Then begin stretching it taller and taller until you reach the point just before it becomes ridiculously too tall, but almost. Then exaggerate the already cartoonish characteristics of his face. Put a white suit on it and stick a microphone in its mouth and you have Liars’ lead man Angus Andrew. Once complete, place him on stage and have him prance around maniacally while spitting out verses over drone and reverb-laden tunes and dancing in the oddest manner imaginable. This is the spectacle of Liars. And if not winning over the In The Venue crowd, they definitely made them take notice. After their first song, the two guys standing directly in front of me looked at each other in horror as I smiled to myself. After the second song, one of them leaned over to the other and said, “I’m warming up to them.” The other responded by rolling his eyes. I guess he wasn’t warming.
The set was mostly taken from their most recent release, with a few songs from their next album. As a performance, they were wonderful, but musically they have always left me waiting. The percussion is amazing, and strong enough to sustain nearly any song, but it seems that Liars have recently leaned a bit too much on their strong rhythm section, and not enough on equally interesting melodies and instrumentation. As a result the songs are full of opportunity, but lacking in payoff. But as a stage presence, Angus Andrew and Liars are a show that no one should miss.
Interpol came out donned in, surprise, Black! They then preceded to melancholy the crowd into euphoria, whatever that means, or however that is possible. I was a bit skeptical of their live performances, having heard the tail end of their set at the Curiosa festival a while back, but in the hazy, dark, atmosphere of In The Venue, their songs sounded remarkably crisp. Paul Banks vocals, the culprit of my prior skepticism, were spot on and their linear guitars and backing bass, keyboard, and drums sounded great. However, it was quite a contrast going from the energy of Liars, to the stoicism of Interpol.
Being only somewhat acquainted with Interpol’s newest album, about a quarter of the way through their set they could have been playing the same songs over again and I wouldn’t have been able to tell. But that is part of the charm of Interpol. They have their unique style, it fits them to a T, and like the Strokes, for better or worse they don’t stray far from their established identity. And in the end, Identity is really what Interpol is all about, and they definitely succeeded in maintaining it.