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Review: Interpol at the Met

Written by
Terri White

Intensity is nothing new at an Interpol show. But the intensity is that much more, well, intense, when the show is to promote the band's first release in four years and being held at one of the city's best-loved cultural institutions for a clutch of their die-hard fans. There are even beer and snacks, for god's sake. And it's hot. Like, really hot. Talk about a tinderbox.

The crowd, hemmed between the makeshift stage and The Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, need no warming up as the band emerge with "Untitled" and "Leif Erikson" before plunging straight into "My Desire", the stand-out track from new outing, El Pintor. It's a slow start, with a few unsurprising sound issues (given where they find themselves), but the band soon hit their stride. Guitarist Daniel Kessler dominates, with his usual precision and fervor, and frontman Paul Banks' captivating solemnity is cut-through with a new-found warmth and ease. A band reborn? That may be something of an overstatement. But they're certainly a band with renewed fire.

Though they swerve many of their biggest hits, they dive deep into the back catalogue with Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics well-represented in their fourteen-song setlist. The three new songs they play are three of the best from the record, giving this local crowd a tantalizing taste of their return to form a week before it drops. 

"Welcome home!" yells one fan between songs. Welcome home, Interpol. And welcome back. 

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