Interpol / Ladytron

Apollo, Manchester on Tuesday 8 July 2008

On paper Ladytron were an excellent choice as a support band. They are well established, with something of a cult following, and have just released an album which is quite possibly their best release so far.

Unsurprisingly, with only forty minutes available, Ladytron opted to concentrate on material from the 'Velocifero' album as well as some older songs from 2005's The Witching Hour'. Opening with album opener 'Black Cat', before diving straight into 'Runaway'. They band were excellent, the sound engineer less so. Nothing seemed to be out of tune, but the mix could have, and should have been a lot clearer.

It didn't seem to phase Ladytron that much, although joint lead singer Helen Marnie did seem to be pointing at the mixing desk on occasion. A curious stage set up didn't seem to help either, it actually took me over half the set to realise their was a live drummer on stage, I assumed they were using a machine, such way he seemed to be positioned at the side of the stage.

Despite the substandard job mixing desk did, it was a decent set from Ladytron, which overall, was received positively by the audience. The new songs have a rare quality, and the band have that rare talent of being together for nearly ten years, and are still able to to produce top quality material. It is sad that a band who have produced four albums full of electro pop gems are ignored while artists doing something not overly different (CSS spring immediately to mind) are feted as part of a new musical revolution.

Ladytron played:

Black Cat
High Rise
Soft Power
Seasons of Illusion
Fighting in Built Up Areas
Destroy Everything You Touch

Strolling onstage thirty minutes later were Interpol. Paul Banks wearing something resembling a bowler hat, and bassist Carlos Dengler shorn of his moustache and dressed in a white short sleeved shirt and not looking unlike he had just come from a long day in the office.

Not saying anything to the crowd, they just go straight into what seems to be now traditional set opener, Pioneer to the Falls. The assembled mass down the front sing along passionately to every word, something which would continue throughout the gig. This was followed up by 2004 single 'Slow Hands', a version played with an intensity which most bands would struggle to match. This got most of the crowd dancing and was the first of many mass sing-alongs.

As you would expect from a band of this quality, they are exceptionally tight. Daniel Kessler bounced around the stage as if this was his first gig in the big time and he was making the most of it, while the chemistry and the understanding between Kessler, Banks and Dengler is undeniable. And this was not more evident during 'PDA', a song which has usually been used to close proceedings, rather than being third in the setlist on this night.

The set continued with great song after great song. One of the criticisms some of last year's Interpol tour would be how the band would build up a great head of steam and then lose it by playing a slow song which would generally go down like a lead balloon. This was not the case tonight. In the stalls, the gig went down excellently, and when the band launched into 'Obstacle 1' it provoked a wave of crowd surfing I have not witnessed for a good while, one which would continue right through to the end of the gig.

In a set filled with great songs, the unquestioned highlight is a particularly brilliant version of 'Roland', which concluded the main set.

Fantastically intense, with Banks possessing an almost psychotic look in his eye, Kessler still bouncing around like a teenager fulfilling all his musical dreams, and Dengler hammering his bass, low slung, out New Ordering New Order. The encore of 'NYC', 'The Heinrich Manoeuvre', and 'Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down' goes down typically well and in a flash its all over. What a fantastic gig.

After the gig, a mixed reaction is developing. I had noticed that with a few exceptions, the people sat in the circle at the top remained there. Although this might be to do with over zealous security, something which is sadly becoming increasingly common in many venues these days.

There are also a few grumbles about the sound not being too great at the back. Although I've experienced clearer sound in the Apollo, from where I was standing it was certainly nothing to complain about. It was loud and clear, certainly an improvement from Ladytron earlier in the evening.

The only negative I can take from the gig was a lack of new material. Interpol are a band at the peak of their powers, who on July 20th play what could be a career defining slot at Latitude, and who have in the last year sold out Madison Square Garden and the aforementioned two nights at Alexandra Palace, it would have been nice to have a little glimpse to what this wonderful bands future entails, but I guess that will just have to wait for a while...

Interpol played:

Pioneer to the Falls
Slow Hands
No I In Threesome
Rest My Chemistry
The Lighthouse
Obstacle 1
Not Even Jail
The Heinrich Manoeuvre
Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down

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article by: Liam Core

published: 11/07/2008 13:22

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