Saturday was an eventful day for music here in Houston. At the NRG Stadium you had music powerhouse Taylor Swift do a set alongside Camila Cabello and Charli XCX, at the Toyota Center Drake alongside Migos for their first of a three-night residency, local shows around some of the smaller venues, an EDM night at Warehouse Live, but something much more — to me — at White Oak Music Hall — the gothic, post-punk sounds of New York City’s Interpol were performed for an enormously packed crowd on the venue’s lawn. This was a show I knew I could not miss.
I got into Interpol while I was working at a record store; I saw a copy of 2014’s “El Pintor,” I thought it looked interesting enough, and I put in on the turntable. The rest, as they say, is history. Speaking of history, I then got a copy of Lizzy Goodman’s book, “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” a historical timeline from New York City rock in the 2000’s. The band was heavily interviewed in it as well as their counterparts in the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, LCD Soundsystem and many others. It shined a light on this incredibly influential musical movement that took place over a decade ago.
The band also had fellow NYC band Sunflower Bean as support. They’ve been hitting the road quite a bit lately, playing WOMH back in February with Sleigh Bells. The trio jammed out for a bit less than an hour, playing songs from their two records, “Human Ceremony” and “Twentytwo in Blue.” I would be lying if I said I know their catalog, but I do know that they concluded with their biggest hit, a song called “I Was Home.” Even from the last time I saw them, the young band has really progressed from a “young indie band” to a well-tuned rock outfit.
After this, some post-punk music came across the PA as roadies took to clear the stage and set up for the headliners. The lights went dark and it set the mood for the music that the band is notorious for. When they came on, they went straight into “Pioneer to the Falls,” a lesser-known song off of their “Our Love to Admire” album that received mixed reviews; it was a rather obscure choice, in my opinion. Older songs actually made up a majority of the set, despite the fact that they released their new record “Marauder” less than a month or so ago. No complaints from me. Last year, they actually went on a 15th anniversary of their debut “Turn on the Bright Lights.”
“Marauder” hasn’t grown on me yet. I feel like the mix is rather lackluster. However, I have seen live performances that are much better than the studio version, and the White Oak one’s seem to be the same. The band also has a reputation of being boring live, which I never really understood. Perhaps it’s because the music they play can, to some, give off that impression? Frontman Paul Banks seemed genuinely engaged and eager to please the crowd. Some of the die-hard fans there went crazy when their favorite songs began, none more so than the bass-heavy “Evil.” That song evoked the closest thing to a mosh pit of the entire weekend.
The band encored with another two lesser-known songs, “Lights” and “Flight of Fancy,” but then concluded the evening with “Obstacle 1.”
That song is a masterpiece and Interpol is one of the best rock bands of the 2000’s, don’t @ me.