Interpol Plays New Tracks at L.A.’s Mack Sennett Studios

Interpol at their intimate show at Mack Sennett Studios. Photo cred: Ethan Shvartzman

Fresh off a highlight set over the weekend at FYF Fest in Los Angeles, Interpol kept up the momentum for their upcoming album, El Pintor (Sept. 9), with an intimate show Tuesday night at L.A.’s Mack Sennett Studios, that was also streamed live by NPR Music and KCRW.

The historic Silverlake, Calif., venue was perfect for Interpol’s brooding post-punk, as the smallish room was darkened to create an ominous atmosphere with red and orange spotlights casting eerie darts from the stage.

Approving cheers rose from the 100-or-so invited guests as the New York City aught-rockers walked out and launched in to “Say Hello to the Angels” from their acclaimed 2002 debut, Turn on the Bright Lights.

It actually took Interpol five songs to get to El Pintor, but once they did – with “Breaker 1” – it was evident that the black-clothed artists hadn’t lost a step. The vibrant layers that Interpol has always been associated with were immediately realized in the first raspy strums from guitarist Daniel Kessler. The chorus that Paul Banks crooned further enticed the crowd to sway back and forth with his hypnotizing voice.

Interpol touched on several other catalog highlights, such as “Take You on a Cruise” and “C’Mere,” both of which are off 2004’s Antics, but it was the new stuff that had everyone buzzing.

El Pintor – an anagram of the band’s name that also happens to mean “the painter” in Spanish – was also represented by the likes of “My Desire,” “Anywhere” and “Same Town, New Story,” all of which carried hints of Interpol’s trademark lush guitars and driving, snare-heavy drums.

Interpol saved their latest single for the end of the proceedings, with the wistful “All the Rage Back Home,” a surf-leaning track that starts out dreamy before the tempo and Banks’ cadence speeds up considerably, causing an immediate dance party.

There were a lot of fans who got the chance to check out Interpol at FYF, but this Mack Sennett session was truly a global experience. Who would have thought it could be accomplished in such a tiny space?

A portion of the set will be broadcast on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic on Friday, Aug. 29.