Review of Interpol live at Nottingham Rock City, Wednesday 24th November with support from Surfer Blood

It is argued by a friend before the gig that Interpol are a band living off a reputation. Following their fourth album they stand accused of living off their début, the fantastic Turn On The Bright Lights, and releasing full-lengths of ever decreasing quality, as well as failing to replicate the haunting atmosphere they achieve on record onstage.

If Interpol are indeed a band fading out then Surfer Blood are one ready to effloresce. Unfortunately whilst this years début 'Astro Coast' is chock full of hook-laden reverb-soaked gems that ebb with confidence and assurance they fall flat on the Nottingham leg of their largest tour to date, failing to command the stage despite an obvious enthusiasm. On record 'Swim' is a spiky indie-pop injection that wouldn't sound out of place on one of The Shins' or Weezer's stronger albums but it feels more than a little weak in such a cavernous venue.

Poor sound levels don't help, and neither do they help the headliners. Already a band driven by low-end Interpol are hindered by sound levels that are massively out-of-balance and leave any moments of subtlety drowned out by an uncomfortably loud bass sound that is as thudding yet ultimately dull as a souped up P-reg Ford Fiesta's speakers playing Oxide and Neutrino at the maximum possible volume.

When the band launch into 'Slow Hands', 'PDA' and other similarly fast-tempo tracks the effect isn't as detrimental and at times the endless throb adds to their thousand-yard stare assault, but in more mid-tempo moments, chiefly those lifted from 2010's self-titled full-length, it makes for painful listening. Add this to a crowd that seems way above capacity and a, typically, frosty stage demeanour that gives the feeling of a band resting a little too much on their laurels, especially when playing the filler from their eponymous full-length, and it is hard not to feel disappointed with the New Yorkers' first Nottingham show in several years.

Jordan Dowling

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