DAVID HOLLAND: “The gig was a little cold, even a little clinical, in whatever sense a rock concert can ever be these things.”

Corn Exchange David Holland Gig Interpol NYC slow hands The Cambridge Corn Exchange

Cambridge Corn Exchange, Sunday 20th March, £22.50

[rating: 3.5/5]

It’s a tough job to try and sum up the Interpol gig from Sunday. It was certainly good, but by no means great.

The band has undoubtedly been over hyped. As recording artists, they are (or at least were) phenomenal. Live, they’re slightly less impressive, and at times they’re even a little distant and half-hearted. Front man Paul Banks only communicated with the crowd three times in the first hour, and he inexplicably chose to do this as an Elvis impersonation: ‘thnk ya vry much’.

I felt strangely disconnected from the music, which I suspect it was due to the lack of interaction between the band and the crowd. The gig was a little cold, even a little clinical, in whatever sense a rock concert can ever be these things.

Support act Matthew Dear was fantastic. His electronic avant-pop is genuinely interesting and original, and he was so charming that it was hard not to love the guy.

Another mention has to go out to the lighting technician – the lights were fantastic, by far the best I have ever seen in a Cambridge show, moving and changing with every nuance of the performance.

NYC, a track dedicated to the band’s home city, was my personal highlight of the night, as was the almost raucous version of Say Hello To The Angels. I was a little sad to see PDA missed off, but was still highly content with the set list. Interpol’s set seemed a slightly oddly organised affair, moving from rocky and punchy tracks such as Slow Hands, to their less audience-friendly, long, and sprawling epics. I’m not sure if they were aiming for a dichotomous, effect but it didn’t really work, it seemed accidental rather than orchestrated. The set still worked extremely well with the songs that played off each other keeping the momentum sustained for three to four track segments.

About a quarter of the crowd seemed totally enthused, moshing in the up-tempo and waving lighters in the down-tempo. There was a real progression between Bright Lights tracks and later work – this was visible in the audience reaction and in the enthusiasm of the band.

Interpol are clearly both a very talented live act, and fantastic song writers. But, the event left me feeling a little under-whelmed and a little un-emotive, which was  a shame considering the potential that Interpol undoubtedly have.