Project Description

ARIEL PINK @ The Rosemount Hotel, WA – 25/11/17 (Live Review)

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Who is Ariel Pink? Even after witnessing his off-the-wall show the question remains nowhere near answered of one of indie’s most divisive artists. Watching an Ariel Pink show feels like being a character in a perverse Rocky Horror Picture Show for the new millennium, with the crowd being Janet and Brad, and Ariel Marcus Rosenberg taking on the form of Frankenfurter. A little distasteful yet frustratingly arresting – Rosenberg even when dressed demurely in a cream sweater, sling bag and hair that stuck in damp clumps to his face soon into his set, demanded attention because he is truly a one-of-a-kind artist and performer.

An interesting paradigm given that by all accounts fame and attention itches on Ariel Pink’s skin. When not performing with his eyes closed he seemed to shuffle on the stage like someone who is still trying to work out his act, only occasionally breaking free to directly challenge the audience.

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Ariel Pink

ARIEL PINK . Photo – Adrian Thomson

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In promotion of his latest album Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, it’s an album that maintains the inherent complex weirdness of Pink whilst still being on the whole easily digestible and a rather good slice of chillwave from its proclaimed Godfather. Supporting acts Leopard Lake and Benjamin Witt played to a building crowd as a precursor to the peculiarity of what was to come. Witt in particular had undertones similar to D.D Dumbo with with a subversive jazzy edge, utilising a saxophone no less, with songs like Ricochet and Kamikaze.

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BENJAMIN WITT

BENJAMIN WITT . Photo – Adrian Thomson

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LEOPARD LAKE

LEOPARD LAKE . Photo – Adrian Thomson

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On first impression, Pink looked like a man throwing himself into a karaoke session with Time To Meet Your God. With its halting rhythm and awkward delivery the song tumbled into the wistful Dedicated To Bobby Jameson and similar sounding Dreamdate Narcissist. And even though Pink and his fellow beloved backing vocalist (“I love my hypeman”) cavorted on stage in almost indulgent abandonment it really wasn’t an invite for the audience to join in. Pink’s music isn’t necessarily something intended to get you dancing but it’s certainly meant to hypnotise with it’s intoxicating production and layering. Unfortunately with a mix that came across as muddy more often than not it did not help for set of material that rejects conventionality leaving it hard to completely grasp what was going on stage, requiring a certain amount of focus.

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ARIEL PINK

ARIEL PINK . Photo – Adrian Thomson

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Because Ariel Pink’s records sound so texturally rich with its lo-fi and psychedelic production it lulls the listener down a fantastical rabbit hole. One Summer Night from 2014’s Pom Pom was a beautiful inclusion but for all its atmospheric blue and green lighting, the band’s tight playing and Pink’s earnest vocal, it lost some of the distinctive richness heard on the record. Still Pink didn’t seem too bothered by it, nor did his hypeman with barely a time to sink a gulpful of VB, they continued on with song after song.

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ARIEL PINK

ARIEL PINK . Photo – Adrian Thomson

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Regardless the audience was a sea of bobbing heads willing to go wherever Pink was taking them. I Wanna Be Young and the weird Ghosts created a bigger distinction between the crowd and stage, as most became transfixed. Rather than being a show that was inclusive of the audience it because obvious rather that we were here to witness. Like a child peering into a kaleidoscope of surfer rock, psychedelia, and 80s pop it never went where you expected surprising the audience with unique designs.

Closing with the Donnie & Joe Emerson cover Baby which was received happily by the crowd like the obligatory cigarette after sex, the band left the stage returning to the cries of “One more song!” to tie it all up with the cheeriness of Bright Lit Blue Skies. Possibly there could have been another encore, hypeman suggested as much, but with a dismissive wave to his band at the close of the song Pink had seemingly done his dash leaving the stage to possibly finally return to a sense of ease.

3 stars

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Check out Adrian Thomson’s gallery of this show HERE

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