Today, Paul Banks is simply Paul Banks. Yesterday, he was Julian Plenti.
It’s understandable if it sounds a bit confusing. Banks put out a first solo album under the pseudonym Julian Plenti while Interpol was on hiatus in 2009. Last month, he released a second solo album under his own name, embracing strategically and musically a new motto — simplify.
And simplification is the major difference between Paul Banks the solo act and his band Interpol. Banks solo enjoys more of the quiet moments, strumming to a more peaceful brand of post-punk than the more aggressive music found in Interpol’s albums. Sonically speaking, if Interpol wants to rush into awkward sex on the first date and harbor recriminations about it, Banks solo wants to romance and take it slow. And still maybe have some recriminations about what happens later.
The crowd of roughly 200 or so people at The Howard Theatre were there Friday night to listen respectfully to what Banks had to say as a solo artist. An early shout-out for “Interpol!” was shouted down by several others from across the room, “Paul Banks!” Banks offered up 15 songs from his two solo albums, the new ones from the latest album, Banks, sounding as sweet and melancholy as the songs from Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper. Opening with Julian Plenti’s “Fly As You Might” and “Skyscraper,” Banks and his three-piece backing band then seamlessly moved into material from the self-titled Banks.