Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti at the Bluebird, 11/23/10
With Diva and Os Mutantes
11.23.10 | Bluebird Theatre
Ariel Pink (whose real name is Ariel Rosenberg) spent the better part of the last decade making lo-fi recordings of himself in his bedroom and being booed off-stage during solo tours. When he got signed to record label 4AD and released his first studio album earlier this year, though, he went on the road again as a headliner, and last night, he brought his rough, psychadelic pop-rock sound to the Bluebird Theater.
You know you're in for weird with Pink, who has posted lo-fi music videos that feature breast milk. You can only assume the same will be true of the openers he chooses. About fifteen people hugged the front rail of the theater when the first of those acts, Diva, ambled on uncertainly, donning a beaded headdress, a leather jacket and tribal face paint.
It was clear why she'd been chosen: She favored a rough cut sound and a lot of distortion on both the mike and the electric guitar, discordant harmonies comprising every song in her set. Her songs sounded so unfinished, though, that they were mostly unapproachable, like Jefferson Airplane on a bad acid trip. The crowd of hippies and hipsters filtered in and contented itself, instead, with lingering near the bar for PBRs.
Os Mutantes took the stage next, a seven-person band traipsing on amid a collective "shush" from the audience. Formed 36 years ago and then reunited in 2006, the robed and caped group could have been the subject of a Christopher Guest mockumentary, and it carried on with charming quirkiness through a wacky -- though undeniably catchy -- set that channeled the '60s, '70s and '80s, evoking everything from the Grateful Dead to the Beatles to the Dire Straits.
Much of the crowd danced frenetically, the way they would have at a jam band show. And the set took on characteristics of such a show, with instrumental solos and musical references (like "Besame Mucho" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps") mashed up into the group's own work. The band scattered a couple of tracks recorded after its reunion into the mix, harder-edged rock numbers dropped into the marching melodies of the classics. At some point, the crowd began to lose interest. Os Mutantes played about three songs too long.