First of all: The official band’s name used to be ‘Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’ but now it’s simplified to ‘Ariel Pink’ and it’s not only the work that has gained the main man behind the project, Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, a large amount of followers. Also his attitude, that is said to be very difficult to handle, has put him into the role of a living legend of the independent music industry nowadays. Luckily I had the opportunity of seeing him twice (2012 + 2015) in both collaborations. The music of his is still recognizable as ‘his very own, amazingly made, weird, avantgarde, 80s-influenced something’ though his most recent material is more suitable for the masses than it used to be. Well, but not just the way of making songs & another name are the new additives of Ariel’s career. Also his stage presence has changed a lot throughout the years. Talking only about his live performance I might actually have seen different bands both times.
(Clever made weirdo-pop)
When I arrived at the Prinzenbar (17th of November 2012) I immediately saw Ariel. He was much shorter than I expected him to be plus super skinny and very introverted. Typical of this small-venue concert attitude he passed me by like there was nothing special about it. The following gig was pure magic. Ariel was quite a shy performer but very certain with some impressive singing skills as well. The music he produced on stage wasn’t very danceable but it was more than enjoyable. The atmosphere in total that his band created during the gig was unreal. You got carried away so easily teetering to the vibes of music, thinking about nothing. When they had finished playing, ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ by The Velvet Underground came out of the stereo. It was more than a perfect transition to the holiness that had just taken place in the comfy sold out venue.
Three years later (11th of March 2015) I saw him in Berlin presenting his current record ‘Pom Pom’. This time he played a pretty big venue, the Postbahnhof. His stage appearance wasn’t recognizeable compared to the last time. He was very natural without having any self-consciousness or shy kind of behaviour towards the audience. Grabbing his hair like every two minutes, smoking a ton of cigarettes, pulling at his clothes almost all of the time, making lots of speeches and jokes during the performance. Also the atmosphere during the concert felt more like a big circus event. The songs he picked out this time were very danceable and the musicians very entertaining. Well, not only Ariel was quite in focus but also his drummer, who was half-naked during the whole set acting super goofy. The most impressive thing about the performance though was the great quality of the music. It’s not easy playing songs with such an amount of rhythm changes and so many ideas put in just 2-3 min. but they managed it in the most skilled way.
(Latest release by the two. Well she is so him. Great imitation job!)
After leaving the Berlin gig I felt like something was missing for me. I guess it was the small venue. The intimacy was definitely not present, it was more like an opulent entertainment program this time, which is also absolutely alright but just not my cup of tea. The different stage behavior of Ariel was the big surprise of the evening though. For me it was an amazing progress of him. Well, it would have been even better if he had acted this way three years back. But yes, sometimes you can’t have it all.