Interpol delivered a broodingly intense set on the main stage at Rock en Seine 2011 on Saturday evening.
The odd one out in a Brit-slang sandwich between The Streets and Arctic Monkeys, the New York post-punk veterans nevertheless kept the crowd happy with a slew of trademark melodic goth art-rock.
“Merci”, said singer Paul Banks occasionally, keeping it typically short and sweet between songs and choosing instead to save his breath for the soaring choruses.
Drawing heavily on their debut and sophomore records, ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ and ‘Antics’, Interpol, playing their first festival season without charismatic ex-bassist Carlos D, appeared initially hesitant but quickly hit their stride with a slew of crowd-pleasing singles including ‘Evil’, ‘The Heinrich Maneuver’ and ‘Lights’.
The biggest cheer of the night though was reserved for the menacing opening riff of ‘Slow Hands’, with the punchy chorus producing a plethora of pounding fists and stomping Parisian feet.
“Il était magnifique,” gushed one contented French fan to his cohort as they strolled off into the stormy sunset, and while that may a couple of superlatives too far for a quietly effective performance lacking true spark (and beset by murky at best sound), it certainly succinctly grasps the crowd’s overwhelmingly positive reaction to the performance.