THE KILLS & SUNFLOWER BEAN
Live at The Greek Theater, Berkeley, Oct 6 2018
Photography by Corgam
Words by Rachel Goodman
New York's Interpol closed out the first half of their tour at Berkeley's Greek Theater on a warm Saturday night. The band opened the set with "Pioneer to the Falls" featuring the beautiful guitars of Daniel Kessler and Paul Banks (guitarist, lead singer). The gloominess of their post-punk song and the haunting vocals of Banks just soared through the nighttime air. And while it could have felt old for a band who has been doing this for years, it still felt refreshing. While Banks is not the most talkative of front-man's, he didn't come across as aloof, and thanked his openers (dominant female-lead bands The Kills & Sunflower Bean) and was all too happy to be playing at The Greek.
Against colored flashing lights, Interpol went into new song "If You Really Love Nothing", which is a departure from the somber songs of earlier albums, featuring more keys and a more electronic feel. Kessler's catchy guitar riffs against Banks' vocals, played beautifully together. Fans got lost in the music and had everyone dancing and moving and really getting into it. During "Evil", from the band's second album Antics, the crowd sang along loudly "Yeah, we think about the land / we smart like all peoples / feeling real tan / i could take you places / do you need a new man?" And, the band definitely took us places, even if it was just a brief escape from reality for a few hours without needing a new man.
Interpol had a varied setlist and thankfully covered a fair bit of songs off of their first 2 albums and a good number of songs off their new album, Marauder. The band, who had a mini-tour last year for the 15 year anniversary of Turn On The Bright Lights, wasted no time before getting into early song "Roland". And the fans really appreciated hearing their older material with a lot of applause and screaming. As the band got back to their roots of dark brooding lyrics, angsty post-punk songs, it was clear that this is what most people were here for. In near pitch black, Banks began "All The Rage Back Home" before the band came together and upped the intensity. Sam Fogarino killing it on drums, driving the song. And Kessler's signature walk and hop, as he gets enveloped in the guitars as it takes over the song.
Swathed under blue lights and the band still in signature black clothing, Interpol went into the haunting ballad "NYC". As the crowd belted out "It's up to me now / turn on the bright lights / got to be some more change in my life", it all came together perfectly. The band was as tight as ever, and while the bass lines will never be the same without Carlos Dengler, it didn't seem to matter.
From there, the band would go onto play the catchy track "Not Even Jail" with a pulsating angst that just pushes until it can't take more and just explodes with guitars and drums coming together. The band would go on to play crowd favorite "Slow Hands" with a bass line that is unforgettable and lyrics that everyone knows. It may have been the loudest song in terms of applause and everyone singing along. And if it wasn't already a warm night, by this point it became a sweaty mess with everyone dancing and bouncing along.
As always, while too many favorites are always going to be left out, the band did not disappoint by ending with early favorite "Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down" off their first album Turn On The Bright Lights. Beneath strobe lights, the band seemed to appear and disappear before the eyes with the sound carrying on through their venue. With the screams of "Stella, I Love You" in the air from fans and Banks, it was the ultimate way to end the show.
Prior to Interpol, The Kills really showed that they deserve to be headliners. Allison Mosshart is like no one else from the way she moves, to how she commands a stage, is something that most people can learn from. She is pure attack and raw emotion. She does not leave anything behind and oozes sex appeal on stage. The band opened the set with "Heart of A Dog" off of Ash & Ice with pounding guitars that feels like something is exploding inside of you against Mosshart's vocals. It's just an infectious energy. Also off that album, The Kills showed off their intensity with "Doing It To Death", a bluesy-gritty track with breathy vocals and harmonies that no one else can do quite like them.
At 5'10", impossibly stylish and Mosshart's blonde hair going everywhere, it's impossible to look away. As her and Jamie Hince come together, singing "U.R.A Fever", their chemistry is still as hot as ever. Their vocals blend together perfectly as she stretches across amps, leaning into the crowd. "Kissy Kissy" is garage-rock at its finest, showing off their guitar skills. Mosshart prowls across the stage, playing against Hince and it's pure hotness. While it's not just a two-some anymore, the additional band members just add to their sound, fully complementing it. And while their set really was not long enough, Mosshart managed to command an audience and had everyone eating from her palms.
First opener, also from New York, Sunflower Bean brought the glam. Julia Cumming, bassist/lead singer, channeled her inner- Debbie Harry in vocals and performance. Seeming impossibly tall and lanky, she looked like she emerged as the love-child of Bowie and T. Rex. Stylish, blonde and ever tall, she worked the stage and tried to invigorate a crowd that was all too chatty. The breezy, fun "Easier Said" was a catchy infectious number that had people dancing, while "Twentytwo" showed off the softer side of the band. As Sunflower Bean ended the set, the band expressed joy to be playing with Interpol and a bit sad that this part of the tour had ended. So it seemed all too fitting to end the set with the catchy pop-rock psychedelic song"I Was Home."