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Thursday, February 10, 2011
The night's festivities were at the UC Santa Barbara event center. The musicians passing through this small beach town were Interpol & School of Seven Bells. This, an unlikely paring between bands and venues, considering having seen the place with the lights on. Happily enough, the artists/promoter turned what would on any normal day be a gymnasium into a concert theater venue, minus the walls....
On stage first was School of Seven Bells (SVIIB). Having honed down their line-up to a twosome, they were in good form and presented a more compelling performance than in the past. The duo now is composed of Alejandra Deheza (vocals & guitar) & Benjamin Curtis (guitars & various electronics & programming), accompanied by live drums.
Angelic vocals laced with swirling guitars & a rhythmic back-beat, were their calling card for this early February night. Playing songs from their latest release "Disconnect From Desire" such as "My Cabal" and the underground hit "Dust Devil", SVIIV kept the audience's attention (even the stray university party-people). I thought this would seem unlikely, but the dark & programmably danceable beats seemed infectious to all on the packed floor.
They played nearly an entire angelic-expressive album's worth of tunes; ending the set with a double-dose of electronic danceable noise, all rolled into one. "Sempiternal/Amaranth" started off as a tribal-style drumming interlude, and ended the set as a swirling wall of noise...
Following a brief intermission, the night's headliner had arrived...
Taking the darkened stage with characteristic style, Interpol launched into the aptly titled "Success,"from their fourth album, a self titled release. Specifically, Paul Banks (guitarist/vocalist) has truly seemed to take the reins as front-man of the group, possessing noticeable amounts more charisma than in previous years. Not sure if the quality of the show had anything to do with Carlos Dengler (former bassist) having moved on to greener pastures; or that Daniel Kessler (guitar) & Greg Drudy (drums), all played flawlessly.
Following up with "C'mere" and "The Heinrich Maneuver" Interpol moved into playing selections from all four of their albums - a set which seemed to capture the essence of the band. Their latest incarnation seemed to break the last vestiges of any Goth stereotypes, seeming to move into the more mature territory of dark and sophisticated rock.
High-points included intense renditions of "The New" and "Mammoth" and culminated with a moving performance of 2004's "Slow Hands." With a fog-machine thick atmosphere, the impressively sparse lighting helped create the night's illusionary concert theater.
They led the encore with "The Lighthouse," as the audience stammered for more of the impressive audio and visual stimuli. Wrapping up the evening with "Not Even Jail," Interpol proved that even in a beach-town, their show was the best place to be that Friday night in Southern California...
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