Ariel Pink at Electric Ballroom
Trying to pigeon hole Ariel Pink into a genre is as futile as a cat chasing a laser point. Quite frankly, he is all over the shop and this chameleon-like diversity is what makes him so appealing. The show is pretty much a run through of the whole album, making the performance about 90 minutes. In this time, he’s able to display the full range of styles that have influenced the album: it’s like taking a trip through his stream of consciousness. The lack of uniformity across each song is what turns out to be the uniting factor.
The sing song repetition of Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade is playful and endearing, yet there is a menacing undercurrent in the darker lyrics that speak of the horrors of war in a jovially sinister way. This sets the tone for the rest of the gig, almost fooling you into a state of merry giddiness until the meanings of the songs are revealed in their juxtaposing lyrics. This sentiment is echoed in Jell-o, which is about the banality of suburban existence and the instant gratification of consumerism that creates bland subjects. However, the repetitive playground call and response chant of “jello, yeah” ironically displays the danger of being a follower.
The album turns far gloomier in Four Shadows, with the undeniably morbid lyrics: “In the night, only darkness in the night, things that go bump in the night”, repeated in an eerie falsetto. Not Enough Violence contains similar darkness, pulling the audience deeper into a sense of their own futile existence as they are the “fertiliser, fertiliser! (on the body farm).”
The accompanying musicians who form the touring band Haunted Graffiti are each adept at their instruments. At times it’s almost as though they’re each playing in their own little world. However, these clashing sounds soon mesh together to form coherent beats that allow each member to shine.
No stranger to controversy for his outspoken views on loving paedophiles and necrophiliacs alike, Ariel Pink gives a strong and convincing performance that feels honest and true to him. Whether you find him repugnant or visionary, as an artist there’s not much more you can ask for than authenticity.
Photos: Chloe Sheppard
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