By brian

Interpol, Calla
Berbati's Pan, Portland, OR
Feb 14, 2003

I really wanted to do this review without using the J word. I knew it was going to be a struggle, as I have yet to read a review, or any press at all without it being used gratuitously throughout, but I went into the gig with an open mind.

A friend of mine from Vegas turned me on to Interpol last year. It was the record of the year, in his opinion. I bought the record and fell for it, myself. It reminded me of all the things that I have been infatuated with when I was going through those awkward junior high/high school years, the days of trying to fit in, yet be different all at the same time. I most definitely needed to see this band live.
I arrived about half way though the opening band, Calla which offered pleasant yet uneventful noise. The show was sold out, and when Interpol took the stage, they were greeted to a hearty Portland welcome. This band definitely had the style down cold. If I wanted to, I could pretend that it was about 1980. Hell, the bassist looked straight out of Spandau Ballet.

Interpol proceeded to plow through about ten amazing tunes that were a perfect capsule of the early 80's. They were, dare I say it, very much influenced by Joy Division (the J word I was trying to avoid), but that wasn't it.. I heard some Smiths, and some Echo, a dash of Teardrop Explodes... If they are derivative, they definitely pick their influences well. The songs sounded brilliant, from the moody Stella, to Obstacle 1. The band did not divert from the originals, which is nice from time to time. They finished the first set with PDA, a song which has been getting some airplay on alternative radio, and went off to applause. It is nice that Oregon is showing respect for a great new band. Or maybe Oregon is showing respect for a familiar sound that they heard when they were growing up.

The bottom line, is Interpol is a fun band to see. I think I had a smile on my face the entire set. I was only 8 years old in 1980 and, of course, did not get to see some of the finest bands of this genre live. Interpol offered me a treat, as for one night, I can close my eyes and pretend I was there! Who knows where this band will go from here, but if history is a guide, we can expect great things.