Almost two years after Interpol’s first live gig in Athens, Paul Banks returned to the city, this time without his famous band. The release of "Banks" last autumn, the second solo work for Interpol’s singer and the first under his own name after dropping the Julian Plenti moniker, has added momentum to Paul Banks’ solo career and proved that he can deliver great music even without the help of his talented Interpol mates. Friday night's show gave us the opportunity to get a better feel of his solo material and enjoy once again one of the greatest voices in alternative rock.
The 75-minute set contained most of the material from "Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper" and "Banks" without any significant omissions. "Unwind", from the first album, even without the trumpet and saxophones that characterize the recorded version, was a good opening for the set which continued with "Fun That We Have", another "Skyscraper" highlight, and "I'll Sue You" from the new album.
Paul Banks appeared to be in good spirits, smiling and thanking the audience after almost each song, giving us also the name of each one, perhaps subconsciously acknowledging the fact that this material is not as well known as that of his more famous band. However, songs like "Over My Shoulder", "The Base" or "Summertime is Coming" are certainly cut from the same cloth and, given time, can easily become just as loved by his fans. The three musicians that accompanied Banks, including Secret Machines’ bassist and keyboardist Brandon Curtis, served the music well without stealing the limelight from their band leader.
The concert came to a close with a three song, low key encore that included "Skyscraper", "On the Esplanade" and "Games For Days". Banks has certainly got his work cut out if he wants to reach on his own the dizzy heights achieved by Interpol, but this show as well as the quality of the material on his two solo efforts so far, confirm that he does possess enough star power to keep our interest in his new endeavors.