Paul Banks - The Constellation Room - November 30, 2012
This year has been one of re-releases and anniversary tours, and though Interpol is gearing up to drop the 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of its lauded debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights, in December, don't expect an accompanying tour anytime soon. Instead of celebrating the record's first decade in existence, the indie outfit's frontman, Paul Banks, is doing his own thing.
After releasing his second solo full-length, Banks, in late October, the baritone singing guitarist hit the road to support his independent endeavors. And though it may not be a Turn on the Bright Lights tour, he's still selling out venues across the States, including Santa Ana's Constellation Room.
The intimate venue was filled far beyond a comfortable capacity before Banks even stepped foot on stage, and when he did, camera phones shot up instantly as concertgoers desperately snapped photos of the baby-faced multi-instrumentalist. Accompanied by a three-piece band, Banks began his set with "Skyscraper," the atmospheric track off his 2009 release, Julian Plenti is...Skyscraper before delving into selections off his latest release.
As his 75-minute-long set progressed, it became increasing clear that though Banks is known as a frontman, fret work on guitar is his forte. Though each song was executed virtually flawlessly, his relatively monotone cadence began to wear my ears. It came to the point where if the instrumentation from track to track wasn't so diverse, I would have sworn he'd already played that song, but lucky for him, where his vocal skills may lack his musical skills soar.
As he sang, his fingers created formations on his guitar neck that many people would be unable to achieve, especially while singing. As he strummed his strings, the sparkling tone resonated through the walls and hinted at melodies reminiscent of his main project. When he came back onstage for an encore, I'm sure I was not the only one silently wishing for just one Interpol song, feeling like this whole set was some sort of tease. And when he finished playing his last song, "Paid For That," and politely walked off stage, I'm sure I was not the only one just slightly disappointed.
Critical Bias: Paul Banks' songs have much more life and character in a live setting.
The Crowd: Oddly eclectic
Overheard in the Crowd: "I love you, Paul!" Over and over...and over.
Random Notebook Dump: I listened to Interpol on my whole drive back to Los Angeles.