Maybe Ariel Pink is 2011’s Wavves. Or whoever imploded in 2010. (Topping a best tracks list can fuck with a man’s brain…) Whatever the case or context, a few days after the reportedly awful, mumbling New Year’s Eve wreck at the Inverted Cosmos party, Pink offered another seemingly unsatisfying performance at the Rock & Roll Circus at Lincoln Center. The Village Voice recounts:
…Ariel Pink is enthusiastically announced by our drag queen host, Acid Betty. AP saunters out alone with a mic, followed by two backup “dancers” in long animal hats who sort of move around every few minutes behind him. He is backed by no band whatsoever and sluggishly sings behind karaoke versions of his own songs. It’s as if we’ve caught him in his living room in pajamas on some strange drug trip we can’t even begin to understand. He lays down onstage, he walks into the crowd and sits next to someone, he climbs a lighting post till he’s brought down. It’s what you imagine may have happened to Kurt Cobain if he were still alive and performing in Vegas.
The entire crowd shares a skeptical look, not sure if they’re in on the joke or a part of it, if this is some Tony Clifton-style hoax where the real Ariel Pink is about to suddenly appear. Nope. “OK, next song!” Pink commands, waving his hand mid-verse as a DJ somewhere skips to the next backing track for him to sing along to. The crowd nervously laughs. The whole affair feels like some sort of meta-goof: “We actually got a bunch of companies to pay for THIS!!”
About 30 minutes after appearing onstage, Ariel walks through the crowd — still singing — and right out the front door. People wait a moment for his reappearance and then start to follow him. Pretty soon everyone does. But the guy is long gone. The circus is over.
[Photo by Rebecca Smeyne via the Village Voice