REVIEW: Interpol, 6 Music Festival, O2 Academy, Newcastle

IT’S not even a year since Interpol resembled a band in crisis.

Having struck gold with debut masterpiece Turn On The Bright Lights, the NYC post-punks spent the next decade on a winding and increasingly steep downward spiral - a process compounded by a series of lacklustre live dates and the loss of influential bassist Carlos Dengler.

INTERPOL ... were second-top of the bill at the O2 Academy on the opening night of the 6 Music Festival in Newcastle.

INTERPOL ... were second-top of the bill at the O2 Academy on the opening night of the 6 Music Festival in Newcastle.

As it happens, the remaining trio’s previous visit to Newcastle proved a key turning point.

It might not have seemed like it at the time, but last March’s intimate comeback at Riverside set in motion a cycle that’s found them completely revitalised, and delivered a record, in El Pintor, which some have even hailed as their finest to date.

It was fitting, then, that their return to the city as part of the BBC 6 Music Festival came as a genuine triumph, played before an enthused O2 Academy crowd clearly ecstatic at their reversal in fortunes.

Much like the new record, the group’s 45-minute slot set out bristling with vigour and renewed purpose.

Say Hello To The Angels and Evil, for instance, are both long-established staples, but haven’t been belted out with such gusto in years; with the terrific newie Anywhere joining them in an opening remarkable in its directness.

From then on in, intensity only grew with the scorching gloom of The New, and while that momentum wasn’t quite maintained the remainder of their set still packed its share of highlights.

It was, in the truest sense, the sound of a band rejuvenated, and come the propulsive closing stomp of Slow Hands it was evident their public couldn’t be more glad to have the real Interpol back.

*Tune into the 6 Music Festival across the weekend. See performances at www.bbc.co.uk/6music and highlights on the BBC Red Button across the week.