I had a fantastic time at this year's Curiosa. It was a very simple festival, but packed with so many great bands at certain points I couldn't help but just jump up and down out of excitement for what I had to look forward to. As shocking as this may seem to some people, even Carlos, I had actually never seen Interpol play live before. I had obsessed over TOTBL and now Antics, but just somehow managed to miss the boat on their live shows. So of the group I was with I think I was the most ridiculously excited (hence the jumping up and down and inability to hold a conversation involving complete sentences until I had seen the band play live. Before I start, allow me to also apologize for how crappy my pictures are.. but I'm poor and my digital camera is old and low on the megapixels.
Curiosa was kind of a strange experience in a way because the majority of the bands had to play in broad daylight, and most of these bands are much better suited to playing in dark clubs with complimentary lighting. This was definitely true for The Rapture. If you know me well at all I'm sure that I have expressed to you either verbally or through my reactions whenever a DJ spins one of their songs, that I LOVE the Rapture. My friend Mark treated me to a show of theirs @ Bowery and at the time I had no idea what they sounded like before then thank god for Mark because they are fucking great live.
I've never been disappointed by a Rapture show, but I have also always seen them at night. Of course they were still great @ Coachella, the highlight for me being their performance of "The Coming of Spring," which always seems to get the audience going, and they didn't slow down after that. I sort of wished they had done "Open Up Your Heart," their "ballad" which I think works much better live than it does on the album, but overall it was still a great show. And yes, obviously I love the dancing cowbell player more than anything else. Maybe I can be a dancing cowbell player for a living... hmm.
As I said before, I really have nothing to compare Interpol's performance with, having never seen them before. It was pretty clear that broad daylight was even more out of sorts for them, so smoke machines and some lighting were added to help create more of an atmosphere (which I'm not sure reallyworked but... at least they tried).
Like others have mentioned, they are only playing three songs off of Antics on this trip out. The first one they did was "Evil," which was great until Carlos's bass went out and they basically had to play the entire song without. "It sounds much better with the bass," Paul assured the crowd, which is obviously true, but Carlos seemed pretty unphased by what happened and even played the intro to the song again once he was plugged back in. The other new songs, "Slow Hands" and "NARC" went just fine and I thought "Slow Hands sounded especially great live, and as we discovered at Bar 13 last week it's an excellent song to dance to (and work out to?). So hooray, Interpol came through for me and I can't wait to see them play again on a real nighttime venue tour hopefully this fall.
Finally it was time to see Muse. After leaving their set early at Coachella to go see the Killers and then the Killers starting 45 minutes late, I was psyched to see this band play again because they are SO GODDAMN AMAZING live. And my mistake of leaving early at Coachella caused me to miss them play "apocalypse Please" live, so I was hoping they would play it at Curiosa but... they didn't. That was totally fine though, because everything else they played was great. The opening crashing guitars on "Hysteria" never fails to get me pumped, and other standouts like "Time is Running Out" and "Sing for Absolution" had the crowd completely worked up. Matt's voice is like none-other, so gorgeous and overwhelming it's everywhere and somehow singing just to you all at once. Everyone seemed to be both mesmerized and blown away by the performance they gave, and more than a few people commented to me that they thought Muse was much more worth of a spot on the main stage. The absolute tiny-ness of the second stage at Curiosa was really surprising to us when we arrived, but Muse completely owned it.
There was no time for an encore, however, because The Cure was up next. Obviously their performance was a vast improvement over their showing @ Coachella when they had some serious sound problems. I just don't know what it is though, but there is something just lackluster about seeing this band live, which maybe is just because their fans are so devoted (I can't even count the number of Robert Smith clones we saw walking around - although the one in the picture is the real deal) and expectations are just so high maybe it's almost impossible to live up to them. While their newer material failed to really get the crowd excited, old favorites like "Boys Don't Cry" will keep them dancing until the end of time and hearing them live is always a treat.
Overall, Curiosa = lots of fun. It was sad to see how the festival clearly is selling poorly, but for those of us who were there, not having to deal with huge crowds and the absence of the predicted thunderstorm made for an excellent evening of good music. Can we do it again next year? With more cowbell and styled hair? I hope so.