Ariel Pink Show & Boards of Canada

I saw Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti at Altar Bar on Wednesday. I debated over whether I was going to go to the show; of course I debate over leaving the house in general. I guess introversion is my blessing and my curse. I need it in order to get work done, but it often hinders me from getting outside – both from my apartment and from my head. But I made it out this time, and good thing: they brought it. “They” being both Ariel Pink and his monolith/bedrock of a band. I got a little loose beforehand, first in an alleyway then in a bar, then I walked across the street to the venue. I thought I might know somebody there but I didn’t know a soul. The under-21 section was fun to watch and gave me flashbacks to going to shows when I was in high school. When I was eighteen I saw Radiohead on the OK Computer tour (at Metropol), which was definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

This one might also rank in my top ten. Ariel Pink makes odd, patchworky songs that seem like they shouldn’t work but often do. He’s an iconoclast. He stood in front of the stage fiddling with an effects board (or something). He couldn’t find his tambourine but when someone finally handed it to him he didn’t play it all that much. Though off-kilter he’s clearly a frontman, 100%, the band incredibly nimble but nonetheless careening over his goofy, beautiful songs. He’s made album upon album of the things, God only knows when I’d ever get the time to listen to all of them. But the wonderful thing was that every song they played sounded good, sounded like a song I’d want to hear more of (haven’t been able to find a setlist, where’s the internet when you need it?). And the songs I did know sounded more like anthems than I ever could have imagined. I wanted to raise my hands in the air so I did, sometimes. I also danced a bunch, which not a lot of people did but this cool gay guy and his gal pal were gettin down right in front of me so I felt like I was in good company.

At least I think he was gay. Who can tell these days! I made extended eye contact with this very attractive dude. Dark hair, beard, thick shoulders, nice butt; but nothing more. Also received a few anxious glances from young hip brahs who didn’t have girlfriends. The crowd was so unfortunately sparse. I was possibly the oldest person there besides the band. I guess they hadn’t promoted it well, it almost seemed like a secret. Or maybe nobody knows what to make of Mr. Pink but I think he and his band are brilliant. No real highlights but the last song was a long drone and there’s nothing I love more than a long drone.

I have to say that I think Ariel Pink is pretty sexy. He hides behind his hair a lot. I wanted him to really strut his stuff on stage, to femme it up and flounce like a good rock star should. Alas, that seems to be only in his dreams (were it true I’d be this guy). I’m not complaining. I like introverts. 🙂

Speaking of long drones, as I’m writing this post I’m listening to the new Boards of Canada album. I’m only halfway through it but it’s certainly interesting. I’m a big fan, particularly of their last album The Campfire Headphase which came out like eight years ago, and which none of the press/critics currently seem to think is worth much. It’s their most pop album, it’s got this great laid-back vibe and I think they knew exactly what they were going for. This is my favorite BoC song (listen to it, just for ten seconds):

My dream for this new album was that it would be made up entirely of little weird songs like the one above. Obviously that’s only in my dreams and that’s as it should be. I’ve definitely noticed some moments of beauty and weirdness so far, and those are always good things.