With Hundred Waters
Fillmore Miami Beach
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Venture onto South Beach on any given Saturday night and you'll likely find a gridlocked mess of sports cars and tourists blocking streets, parking spots, and doorways.
Add the South Florida Auto Show to the mix... and you're in for quite a rough ride.
Luckily, Interpol fans tend to be very polite.
After securing a much-coveted parking spot, we stepped into the Fillmore Miami Beach, which was positively buzzing with indie aficionados of all ages.
The showgoers gathered to grab a pretzel and giant beer before heading into the main hall to watch Florida's own Hundred Waters begin their set.
Lead vocalist Nicole Miglis has the breathy coo of a relaxed Elizabeth Fraser and the murky darkness of Broadcast's Trish Keenan, all delivered with dialed-down, soulful restraint.
She leads her bandmates through knotty songs teeming with electronic and live elements: real drums and percussive samples, airy flute and spacious synths, not to mention Miglis' tuneful melodies and the manipulated echoes thereof.
Hundred Waters slips gently through songs that alternate between dense pop and looser, open-ended forms -- not unlike their Canadian tour mates in art-pop group Braids. However, a Hundred Waters set is a generally calming and easygoing affair, without the hiccuping vocal tics and theatrics of that group's Raphaelle Standell-Preston.
A moment with Hundred Waters' Nicole Miglis is often like Björk on a bunch of Xanax or the lulling centerpiece of a Cocteau Twins album -- sleepytime music in the best way possible.
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During the intermission, the tension and excitement was palpable. Fans hurriedly lined up for another round before gathering en masse in the main hall, squinting into the darkness for the faintest signs of the suited men of Interpol.
The New York indie darlings made quite a splash with their debut, Turn On the Bright Lights, back in the early 2000s, and it's now hailed as one of the best albums of its time. Follow-up release Antics brought the band a truly universal appreciation, and in the subsequent years, lead single "Evil" could be heard everywhere, from hip dives to indie playlists at restaurants. For a few years there, Interpol was ubiquitous.
At the Fillmore Miami Beach, the band finally took the stage to thunderous cheers and applause, with Banks modestly welcoming us before launching into "My Blue Supreme," a cut off new album El Pintor.
The set would alternate between the newer tracks and old standards, like the jaunty pop of "Say Hello to the Angels" or the driving rhythms of "PDA," both from the aforementioned debut. The pacing was pitch-perfect, diving from upbeat numbers to slowburners.
The majestic build of "Not Even Jail" reached a midset crescendo, with Banks venomously emoting, "You'll never take hold of your time here/Give some meaning to the means to your ends," and the fans bobbed heads in unison as the instruments reached a screeching climax.
Following a pair of albums that weren't quite as lauded as Turn On the Bright Lights and Antics, the group returned to the scene this year with El Pintor, a taut collection of tunes that recalls the tightly coiled heyday of the band, blazing new ground structurally while not deviating too much from its established sound.
The core trio of the band remains intact and includes Banks, distinctive guitarist Daniel Kessler, and pounding sticksman (and onetime South Florida fixture) Sam Fogarino. Former bassist Carlos Dengler, the man who penned the inextricable bass lines for songs like "Evil" or "Untitled," quit the band a few years ago to pursue personal interests. The group has carried on, however, with Paul writing the bass parts for El Pintor and managing to maintain the group's kinetic energy on record.
Lots of old hits peppered the rest of Interpol's Miami set, including the aforementioned "Evil" and "Untitled," both of which were played faithfully and spiritedly by touring bassist Brad Truax.
Slower numbers like "Leif Erikson" and "Take You on a Cruise" garnered the same enthusiastic crowd response as the barn burners, as the lights and projections gelled with the gauzy tunes in a synesthetic haze.
"It's up to me now/Turn on the bright lights," Banks sang during the soaring coda of "NYC" near the end of their encore, and the Fillmore literally obliged by illuminating the crowd with the house lights. A sea of devoted faces mouthed back the response, "New York cares."
It seems Miami cares as well.
-"My Blue Supreme"
-"Say Hello to the Angels"
-"Take You on a Cruise"
-"Everything Is Wrong"
-"Not Even Jail"
-"All the Rage Back Home"
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