Tuesday, November 17, 2009

[review] Julian Plenti @ Chop Suey (11-16-2009)

Paul Banks and Co bring Seattle something special

Last night at Chop Suey, Interpol's frontman Paul Banks debuted his alter ego Julian Plenti to a crowd of energetic and enthusiastic fans, eager to be only the second audience to ever witness this band perform live. The entire album was conceived and recorded by Banks himself, but to help bring this music to the stage, he was accompanied by The Giraffes' guitarist Damien Paris, as well as a bassist, drummer, and an amazing cellist. Plenti of songs were performed on the rainy Monday night, as you can see by the set list posted below. In fact, the entire debut album Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper was played, as well as three others.

The night kicked off with a very chill opener, a post-rock-influenced instrumental introduction song that served not only as a sound check, but also set the the tone for the night, showing us how strings can enhance any performance. The band immediately catapulted into "Fly As You Might" and ensnared the crowd (Video of both songs are posted above, but mind the poor audio quality). With very little in-between song chatter, the opening riff for "Fun That We Had" evoked a eruption of cheers. To my surprise, the newly put together 5-piece sounded like they'd been playing for years. And for once, it actually looked like Banks was having fun on stage.

The set took a chiller mood when "No Chance Survival" hit our ears, but the band quickly followed with one of the best songs of the night, "Unwind." Afterwords, Banks commented on the setting of Chop Suey, saying how much he loved the intimate venue's "hot, sexy, and dirty" feel. After performing for years to arena-sized crowds with his other vehicle Interpol, I'm sure the Plenti tour will be a refreshing change of pace and a more personal experience. Multiple times in the night, you could see Banks taken aback by the warm welcoming reactions from Seattle's fans. He was very appreciative, which translated to the fantastic performance for all.

The best string of songs on the night began with "On the Esplanade," followed by a rendition of "H" that would make Explosions In The Sky jealous, and finished up with the title track "Skyscraper." At this point my night was complete, thinking that the only song left for the encore would be "Games For Days." However, to my surprise, we were treated with a bizarre set closer: Banks first began singing the Christmas classic "Let It Snow" which broke into either an unknown cover or an unreleased Plenti original, which after the song we were informed that it was "Goodbye Toroonto" (a video is posted below, but mind the poor video quality).

The band left the stage, but the cries of the fans soon brought the humbled Banks and company back on stage to perform their encore set, which included the America cover "Horse With No Name" and the night closer "Games For Days." All in all, a fantastic way to spend your Monday night. This show ranks up there with the best of the year. I strongly recommend trying to catch these guys in a city near you; however, these dudes currently have an extremely abbreviated set of tour dates. Perhaps more to come?

Set list - Julian Plenti (11-16-2009)
Instrumental Intro
Fly As You Might
Fun That We Had
No Chance Survival
Girl On The Sporting News
Madrid Song
Only If You Run
On the Esplanade
Let It Snow / Goodbye Toronto


Horse With No Name (America cover)
Games For Days