Live Review: Liars and Interpol at WAMU Theater 10/18

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review by Eric Mahollitz
photos by josh

The night before, Liars had to bail out on their Boise show due to car trouble. Fortunately for Seattle, they arrived just in time, and they must have started playing right on time as well, seeing as I arrived shortly after 8pm and missed about one and one half songs, on what was my first (and possibly last) experience at WAMU Theater. Only the Key Arena could possibly be more corporate and ill-suited for such an event.

I went into the show thinking Liars would upstage Interpol, but they weren’t even given the chance. The sound during Liars’ set was low enough to incite complaints from the crowd and the removal of earplugs from the band. The show was saved by the fact that Liars are just damn loud. The thunderous drums of Julian Gross, occasionally coupled with Aaron Hemphill’s percussion, would have benefited greatly from a few more decibels, but their raw energy was captured nonetheless. Frontman Angus Andrew provided the visual stimulus. Appearing seven feet tall from the vantage point in the pit, his eyes barely visible through his sweaty matted hair, Andrew danced across the stage engaging each of his bandmates, all the while nearly swallowing his microphone with his Mick Jagger chops.

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As for any opening act in Seattle, it took a while for the crowd to filter in. Thankfully, by the time Liars unleashed Plaster Casts of Everything, a turbo-charged punk anthem, the crowd was there to respond. From the dance-punk of Houseclouds to the Velvet Underground-drenched distortion that dominates their recent release, Liars’ set lived up to the hype and then some.

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Over the next half-hour, people packed into the tiny standing area and the floor seating (that’s right, they expected people to sit) in preparation for Interpol. As Interpol took the stage everyone stood up, flooding the aisles, which security tried fruitlessly to avoid the entire show. In direct opposition to Angus Andrew’s pearly white suit, every member of Interpol wore their traditional black.

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They wasted no time getting into Pioneer to the Falls, the opening and perhaps best track off their latest album. The sound blared throughout Interpol’s set, capturing the sound of the post-punk stalwarts brilliantly. Drummer Sam Fogarino commanded lots of attention, unleashing on his kit, swelling the sound of each track to its pinnacle. Song-wise, their was some definite focus on Our Love to Admire with the first five tracks being performed, and then some. But when it got towards the end, the focus shifted to the tried and true. The mustachioed bass player Carlos D. lit a cigarette and torpedoed into crowd-killer Evil from the much loved Antics album.

Five minutes after the band’s fake goodbyes and the chaotic clapping of the audience, Interpol returned to chug through the beloved NYC and, of course, Stella. Though my main gripe with Interpol, their occasional monotony, did surface Thursday night, the band continued their legacy of masterful control and subtle yet powerful stage presence.

Check out all of josh’s photos here.

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