Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
August 7, 2010
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Is Ariel Pink a genius? Or is he mad? Or is he a mad genius? At the Detroit Bar on Saturday night, Ariel Pink exhibited moments of genius and madness with an oblique set. Besieged at the outset by technical difficulties on stage, things were a little bumpy to get the ball rolling as the band extended the groove of the songs while things were being fixed on stage.
It is a feat in itself that the band can hold together some of the songs and pace themselves with Ariel's unique vocal delivery. Watching Ariel unplug his vocal microphone and replug it in during the middle of the song was strangely curious. "Fright Night" and "Round and Round" instigated a mini dance pit at the front of the stage and proved that when firing on all cylinders, the band could incite a dance party.
After diving into the audience for a little crowd surfing, Ariel soon sat down in the middle of the stage and flipped through different vocal effects while rambling "The revolution is a lie!" It was strangely bizarre and throughly entertaining at the same time. Was Ariel testing the limits of the audience? Two members of the band had long exited the stage as Ariel kept playing a droning riff on his guitar underneath a current of feedback. Needless to say it was the strangest set I have ever witnessed at the Detroit Bar.
Puro Instinct doubled the amount of members in their band and underwent a name change from Pearl Harbor compared to when I caught them at the Crosby in late 2009. The blueprint for their music has not changed with its duel liquid delay guitar attack courtesy of Cody and Skyler that made you feel like your whole head was submerged in water. While it was difficult to discern Piper's intoxicating vocals due to the mix, songs like "Luv Goon," "California Shakedown" and "Can't Take You Anywhere" had the crowd swooning back and forth.
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly
Intriguing and awesome at the same time was the slick sheen of Teen Inc. Imagine constructing songs using the distinct sounds from such dated '80s movie soundtracks as Beverly Hills Cop and Fletch. While it could be construed as tongue-in-cheek, using a vintage synthesizer like the Oberheim OB 8 (circa 1983) and a Roland Bass synthesizer proved that Teen Inc. mean business.
Personal Bias: The different sonic layers in Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti music is mind blowing.
Crowd: Since it was the final show of the tour, friends of each band came from Los Angeles to support the band along with your regular mix of loyal Detroit Bar patrons.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Turn on the house music. I'm done." Courtesy of Ariel Pink at the conclusion of his set.
Random Notebook Dump: The bassist of Hot Hot Heat was wearing an Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti t-shirt when I photographed them earlier in the day at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.