All shine, No Rain at White Oak: Interpol and Sunflower Bean

Paul Banks of Interpol | Photo by Amy Serratos

Interpol | Photo by Amy Serratos

Paul Banks of Interpol | Photo by Amy Serratos

Skies stayed clear after a day of rain on the night of Saturday, Sept. 29th as Interpol and Sunflower Bean shined at White Oak Music Hall, giving concert attendees a show to remember.

No patch of White Oak’s fake grass was visible at the Interpol show. Doors opened and fans, including myself,  began to fill the lawn after an hour of waiting in line. 

Kicking off the night was New York’s Sunflower Bean. The trio walked on stage with dreamy clothing consisting of bell bottoms and a lot of sequins. Their bright 70’s look gave a rock and roll feel, and to those who were not fans before seeing them, a taste of what Sunflower Bean is about.

Bright and colorful lights, as well as a lot of fog, blinded me and the crowd, but lead vocalist, Julia Cumming’s, headbanging and strong demeanor still shined through with every yell and bass solo. Her strong vocals and occasional screams got the crowd to nod their heads along and let loose. 

Julia Cumming of Sunflower Bean | Photo by Amy Serratos

It was not until the third song of the night, “Tame Impala,” that the growing crowd began to look alive and really hear the strength of the vocals, bass and drums. Definitely one of the band’s best moments. Heads began to bang, and the sea of people rhythmically swayed as purple, blue, and green lights fell on the band members. Sunflower Bean showed off their indie, new wave and psychedelia sound until the very end. Their performance was definitely one that the crowd appreciated as they anticipated Interpol.

Next up, Interpol. If you did not know, Interpol frequently tours in Europe, or any place that is not Texas. But this past Saturday, Interpol fans in Houston finally got to see them in all their glory.

Members of Interpol walked on stage dressed in all black from head toe. Their choice of clothing was definitely a power move or perhaps just an aesthetic detail, regardless, it was a detail that I very much appreciated.

The screaming sea of people stood outside in the humidity on White Oak’s lawn and impatiently watched lead vocalist, Paul Banks’, every move. Banks stood on the center of the stage when the ominous sound of  “Pioneer to the Falls”, the opening song to their 2007 album Our Love to Admire, began to fill the air. I was seeing Interpol live! We all sang along and many had a euphoric look on their faces as they shouted every word to the familiar song. 

Daniel Kessler of Interpol | Photo by Amy Serratos

The lights blinded the crowds as the disco balls rotated and the white strobe lights flickered vigorously. The visuals made the performance all that more intense and lively for us. Accompanied by the changing visuals, Interpol’s instrumentation and vocals were truly something amazing to experience live. Their sound was so full and rich. I could not believe I was hearing Interpol live!

As White Oak began quieting down, fans grew impatient to hear the first note of what was to come next. Interpol seemed to play their best songs. The crowd got to hear a bit of everything Interpol has to offer. Everyone was guaranteed a live performance of a song from one of their favorite Interpol albums that night.

By the time Interpol walked away, fans knew it could not be over. They would not let the show be over. The well known “one more song” and “encore” chants filled the air. Soon the whole area surrounding White Oak could hear that we wanted more Interpol, and of course, we got it.

It seemed as though Interpol had just walked on stage for the first time when they came back. The smirks on the members’ faces showed that they were ready to give the crowd what they wanted and end the night right. 

The Houston rain failed to dampen Interpol’s performance as they came back with a memorable three-song

encore that ended with Interpol’s famous “Obstacle.” New and longtime fans cheered and jumped as they heard the popular song off Interpol’s 2002 album, Turn On the Bright Lights, play. Their 18 song set came to an end and the sweaty bodies dispersed. Frenzied fans managed to snag some set-lists while others tore them into two.

Interpol was done and Sunflower Bean was off to the next tour stop. Being a long-time Interpol fan, it was amazing to see them live for the first time. Post-punk listeners got to move along and enjoy guitar riffs and pounding beats from these two indie rock bands Saturday. “We are all here because of him,” said drummer, Sam Fogarino, as he held Paul Banks’ hand and proceeded to walk away. I am excited to see what is next for these two New York bands. 

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