Best Concerts of Sziget 2015: #1 Interpol

The other day I was reading a couple of reviews of the much awaited Benedict Cumberbatch does Hamlet project, and one of them ran the totally unexpected title of “Benedict is a bloody good Hamlet says his mum”.  My placing Interpol as the best concert of Sziget probably looks like a similarly objective and factual decision, though luckily for us both I’m not Paul Banks’ mum.

I actually thought long and hard before going for Interpol at one (yes, the trouble some of us have), but sometimes the easy way out is simply the best way out as well. This was most probably not a stellar Interpol performance- even more probably stellar Interpol performances are slightly different from classic stellar performances, and absolutely definitely no festival will ever quite suit the band’s glossy gloom. Interpol songs are rainy autumn days spent in your impeccably cut dinner jacket poring over the paper and nursing a glass of whiskey in some smoky bar.

Which, no matter how we look at it, is a pretty far cry from an excruciatingly hot tent filled to the brim with slightly drunk people looking for a beer or three. Given these elements, the whole endeavour could have probably gone two ways: Interpol try to adapt to the tent, and become moderately chummy and likable, or Interpol pretend they’re in the gloomy bar and keep on being tantalizingly Interpol. They mercifully went for the second, and that’s why it worked. As I already said, it didn’t work quite perfectly, but in a festival of exciting yet often uneven performances this one seemed to be the most self assured and I shall thus propel it to number one with a clear conscience.

Just as I dismissed people who claimed Kings of Leon were boring based on their expecting all of the songs to be Sex is on Fire (and a dance remix of it, if possible, Avicii style), I will also dismiss everyone who complained about Interpol being uncommunicative and cold. That’s how they are supposed to be, for the love of all that is holy. It was exactly the coldness and confidence that seemed to be lacking from their previous Sziget show- and this time it was there and it felt like a relief. Every now and then Paul Banks would grin, like someone satisfied with a job well done: this is us, this is what we do, we look like we don’t care, maybe be actually don’t, but we sound like a dream. And our job is to sound like a dream. And there’s nothing more wonderful than a band being truly and wholly themselves even when expected not to. 














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