Interpol’s first-ever Sydney Opera House show was pure decadence

Sydney’s historic Opera House seemed like a perfectly charming, albeit perplexing venue to see an Interpol show.

The notorious New York quartet-turned-trio has built a career upon crafting dark, decadent and dramatic soundscapes, so how were we supposed to strut our shoes and go roaming in the night while seated in the country’s most formal concert hall?

Interpol Opera House Dani Hansen Happy Mag
All photos: Dani Hansen

Matched architecturally by the Opera House’s sweeping sails, Interpol’s decadent soundscapes were truly something to behold in Sydney.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried about the logistics of it all. The weather turned ominous in the afternoon to set a very appropriate tone for the rest of the evening. This was my first time seeing one of my absolute, obsessed favourites, so I was crossing a big name off my theoretical bucket list.

It was also Interpol’s premiere at the famous venue, which was among their first shows in the country outside of the festival circuit in about eight years. Basically, this was shaping up to be quite a night.

Inside, the stage was drowned in a dark blue light as the band swept in with epic opener Pioneer To The Falls while a disco ball spun light sabres overhead. The light show did its best to match the sonic theatrics, alternating between blinding strobe spasms and saturated darkness as we breezed through C’mere, If You Really Love Nothing and Public Pervert.

The band seemed almost clinically resolute throughout all of it, except for Kessler who jived his signature jive passionately to the rhythm of each track. Nonetheless, Banks warmly expressed their collective gratitude a few times. I wondered if Kessler envisioned a moment like this when he was working for labels like Domino in Interpol’s early days?

The guys played it fairly safe with their setlist, featuring their first two records most prominently. Although, the warmth certainly wasn’t lost on later tracks; Complications and The Rover were obvious standouts.

Each song was met with ceremonious applause. But by the time Slow Hands rolled out at the end of the set, the crowd had thrown all caution to the wind and stood dancing along in front of their seats. It was a lasting mood that stretched well into the band’s three-song encore and beyond.