As I’m nearing the main stage, a mournful funeral wail of a riff starts up, soon to be joined by stiff drums and icy synth. If Sigur Ros hadn’t started their set with “Svefn-G-Englar” last night, it would surely be the most doomy headline set opener of the festival. Of course, it’s Interpol.
The New Yorkers are certainly an iconic band, kitted out in black suits and bathed in red light throughout the set. I remember an NME article from years ago where bassist Carlos D talked about his favourite tailor. During the intro to one song, frontman Paul Banks wanders around stage smoking like a movie star. It’s not hard to see this is a vain band.
However, they’ve got the moves to support their vanity. Tracks like “No I In Threesome” and “Evil” might take equally from The Strokes, Television and Joy Division (the latter in Paul Banks’ vocals especially), but the band are good enough musicians to avoid the pitfalls of Editors and their ilk; at no point do their songs fall into parody.
The group put on quite a show – they seem to be the only band this weekend who have used projected backdrops and so galaxies swirl and stars flash behind the group as they go through the none-more-moody “Rest My Chemistry”.
Daniel Kessler’s guitarwork is extraordinary throughout the set, providing some necessary texture behind the metronomic bass and flickering hi-hats without ever appearing unsubtle. He uses reverb and echo rhythmically without sounding too much like The Edge too, no mean feat.
As the rain comes down, the fans in front of the stage only clap harder and punch their fists evem harder. Without almost any mainstream hits or much in the way of mass press support, and no real anthems as such, Interpol seem to have pulled it off.
No sign of Banks’ girlfriend Helena Christensen, though. Damn. After Arctic Monkeys and Geoff Hoon, Latitude could have scored another tick on the celebrity list. Maybe next year.