Sunday, Sept. 12

It's funny how music that seems meticulously composed and tightly arranged on recordings can sometimes come off as careless, chaotic and—worst of all—annoyingly sarcastic during a live performance.

The hook-filled, 1970s radio-inspired tunes and Beach Boys-style harmonies that so enliven the recent album, Before Today, by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti sounded like arch parodies when the band played at Club Congress. Singer-songwriter Pink and company sounded like a combination of Ween and the Flaming Lips on a bad night.

I was looking forward to Pink's show, considering that I'd interviewed him for an article that ran in these pages when the band came through town only five weeks before. Witnesses to that gig (at another nightclub) testified that Pink and his band delivered a killer concert.

An effusive and animated artsy/slacker type, Pink certainly knows how to craft lovely classic-pop tunes, and this was proven by versions of "Fright Night," "Can't Hear My Eyes" and "Round and Round" from the new CD—but too often, the songs devolved into psychedelic noise. He can sing, too, exercising both a basso profundo and a spritely falsetto. It seemed on Sunday night, though, that Pink was laughing more at his audience than with it, playing the songs primarily for their kitsch value. The bleached-blond singer erected a wall of irony between himself and the audience that you couldn't have penetrated with a battle ax.

To give Pink a break, it should be mentioned that in between songs, he offered the all-ages crowd this disclaimer: "I just act weird because I'm so insecure or something like that. ... I'm a fucking anarchist, a thespian anarchist."

Although the well-rehearsed four-piece backing band performed admirably, the bubbly pop meringue of the band's records became a diffused cacophony during the hour-long set. The fact that the performance was plagued by a sludgy mix—it sounded like we were listening through mud—didn't help.

Relatively new local act Discos opened the show with about 35 minutes of attractive keyboard- and percussion-dominated rock art that droned and slanted in just the right postmodern way, flirting at times with the faux-naïve "pop" sound of Brian Eno's early records such as Here Come the Warm Jets.


More by Gene Armstrong

  • Primer

    Tony Furtado
    • May 29, 2014
  • Wills Meets Reinhardt

    L.A.'s Cow Bop blends bebop and Western swing into a superbly danceable combo
    • May 22, 2014
  • Finding (the Eighth) Mr. Right

    Superb performances drive the '60s satire of Live Theatre Workshop's Loot
    • May 15, 2014
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Noise Annoys

    Baby Gas Mask, absurdist soul and prog, plus Chaka!
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • Know Your Product

    Stars Pick Their Top 5! This week: Jim Waters
    • Mar 29, 2018

The Range

The Weekly List: 19 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Laughing Stock: Laff’s and Tears, Plus New Mics

More »

Latest in Live

Most Commented On

  • Their Way

    The Trashcan Sinatras have traveled each and every highway for more than three decades
    • May 10, 2018
  • XOXO...

    What's coming down the music pipeline in the next week.
    • May 10, 2018
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation