I’ve dealt with lines before, I thought, this is no biggie. Little did I know the ensuing night would go down as one of the most beautiful/chaotic nights in Salt Lake City concert history.
Shout Out Louds, a playful Cure-ish band from Sweden, opened and sounded pretty good, albeit muffled, from the line outside. Apparently those tickets don’t lie when they say “Show at 7 p.m.” I reached the front of the line, ready to assume the position when some burly bouncers shouted “No video cameras, digital cameras or … camera phones!” That’s right: After giving you a nice rub-job, they searched your phone for picture capabilities—it felt downright Homeland Security-ish. These requests are usually made by the band, so it got me thinking: Did Interpol have some freaky accident that left them hideous and photographically unsuitable? Because God forbid low-res, pixilated images of bassist Carlos D’s mustache appear on the Internet. The question would haunt me for the rest of the night.
I then saw a dude with wild, skunk hair and a “Drum and Bass for a Fucked Up Place” T-shirt pounding on the gate from within the drinking area screaming, “Interpol!” I wish I’d had a camera phone.
Over my concertgoing years, I’ve come to the conclusion that In the Venue is primarily a dance club that was blessed with a couple of good stages because, like a baby in possession of a Nintendo Wii, it doesn’t know how to operate or run the gifts bestowed upon it. Country-punkers Lucero were also scheduled to play that night at Club Sound, In the Venue’s more intimate side. Since the two share the same bar, I was able to catch some of Lucero opener Bobby Bare Jr.
I felt sorry for those Lucero/BBJ folks because one bar plus two shows equals eternal lines and few chances to get drunk. And what self-respecting Lucero fan isn’t drunk when the band plays out?
Back on the Eastern block, the kids were not alright. They didn’t get Liars who, despite a blistering (although somewhat short) set of primal, percussive-heavy art-rock, just freaked them out. They just stood stiff throughout the performance, arms folded in hipster indifference. Some girls near me were particularly terrified by frontman Angus Andrew; dressed head-to-toe in a white three-piece suit. The 6-foot-plus Aussie romped around onstage and screamed through a trippy effect-laden microphone while maybe 10 people shouted in approval. Oddly, he kept saying how much he loved us. Maybe Aussies show their appreciation by frowning and cringing.
But all the hipster babies, the unjust ticket prices and even the jerk bouncers were forgotten the moment Interpol came out. “Pioneer to the Falls” introduced the well-dressed boys in top form, and they obviously thrived in the small venue—not only playing to the fans before them, but above and around them as well. Guitarist Daniel Kessler proved himself a star—far from the sparse strummer from Interpol’s three albums. The New York City band rolled through a set that included plenty of hits, but they absolutely killed when things slowed down with “Not Even Jail,” “Rest My Chemistry” and “Pace is the Trick.” The crowd swooned. It was the closest I’ve ever come to feeling romantic at a loud rock show.
I couldn’t see any visible deformities on any Interpol members, but I did notice that singer Paul Banks wasn’t wearing a tie—and, as part of a band that prides itself on fashion, I can see why he wouldn’t want people taking his picture in such slobbish attire.
Good thing I didn’t have a camera phone.