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Ariel Pink Live In San Francisco

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Ariel Pink is one of my favorite artists in the world, but I don’t waste any time pretending to understand him.

Usually, when one hears music from their favorite artist they go off thinking, “I know exactly how they feel, man.”

When listening to Ariel Pink however, the experience is like having a whole new set of feelings thrust upon you.

Almost like, “Woah man, I didn’t know it could feel this way.”

The music an artist like Ariel Pink makes is either hit or miss, and although it may sound contradictory, I do believe it’s the sort of music that grows on the listener immensely. Under all the funky psychedelic sound effects are some truly catchy pop tunes. You can call it eclectic, you can call it weird, but to quote the track “Sexual Athletics” taken from Pink’s 2014 release, Pom Pom, just “don’t call it perversion.”

As soon as I found out Ariel Pink would be playing two nights at Bimbos365 in San Francisco, I knew I had to go. He played Tuesday and Wednesday night–both nights co-headlining with the Black Lips. Now I understand of course, Atlanta punk rockers, the Black Lips have their own sort of cult following, and they’re great, but I’m not here to discuss them. In fact, I wanted my night to be strictly Ariel and all his aural strangeness, so I showed up to the club on Wednesday night in between sets, right before he was slated to come on.

I noticed I wasn’t the only one.

Right away, I was struck by how slack genius his performance was. One of the very first songs the band played was “Bright Lit Blue Skies” from the Before Today album, and it sounded nearly perfect. It could’ve been that the night before helped, but Wednesday evening’s show had a great energy from the start. The band, which had at least five members on stage, not to mention the girl dancing with a hula hoop the entire time, charged through a wide array of classics.

The audience was treated to favorites from the Haunted Graffiti era, which I was pleasantly surprised to hear, and a bunch of the Pom Pom stuff which, in my opinion, is just starting to come alive. By the time Pink busted into that album’s “White Freckles” the entire crowd was grooving and dancing. Yet it was his ability to shift us all back into a trance during the long odyssey of a track that is “Netherlands” (from the seminal record House Arrest) that really blew my mind.