Julian Plenti at the Bowery Ballroom

by Kelly McClure

I am considering making it “my thing” in writing up concert reviews to re-tell the occurrences of fights that broke out while I was there. It seems to happen at every show I go to and is distracting in that sort of “this is so awkward, I can’t look away” sort of way. Last night I attended the Julian Plenti show at the Bowery Ballroom, which was also apparently attended by the inhabitants of some sort of local mental hospital. 

   Julian Plenti is the solo project of Paul Banks, the lead singer of Interpol. Paul is currently wrapping up a series of small shows in the NYC area, and I was lucky enough to be in the audience for one of them. Opening for him last night was a band called, “I’m In You,” which aside from having a creepy name, is a pretty solid band that played catchy rock tunes about serial killers in vans, and the imminent end of the world. Following I’m in You’s set, Julian Plenti took the stage and I couldn’t get the thought, “Paul looks like an Oakie” out of my mind. I’m not even really sure what that means, but in this context I’m saying that Paul Banks has the stage presence of a super suave gas station attendant. He’s like that kid you went to college with who never said more than five words in four years, but who always smelled a little bit like car oil and stale cigarettes, and would sit on the bumper of his car in the parking lot between classes, cleaning out his nails with a pocket knife. The band opened with “Fly as You Might” and before the song was halfway through, a girl lost her mind in the audience, just left of the stage, and started trying to push her way to the front. Paul Banks could not be bothered with this, and did not seem to notice. As it was a packed house, no one wanted to accommodate the girl’s need to get closer to Paul, which angered her to the point of frothy frenzy, causing her to push a few people’s faces with the palm of her hand, and for the grand finale, drop to the floor in an attempt to belly crawl through everyone’s feet. She eventually gave up and retreated to the back of the venue, a little more bruised than she had been upon entering, to be sure.  Julian Plenti played the majority of the songs off of the Matador release, Julian Plenti … is Skyscraper, and all were performed enjoyably. The highlight of the performance though, was their cover of the Pixies song “Into the White,” which Paul pulled off as if it were his own. Dare I say … better? I mean, picture a Pixies song being sung by the cute Oakie at your corner Shell station; it adds something, doesn’t it? 


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