Live Review
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
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Photography by Bart Pettman

Whispering through the heady drone, Cheatah’s seem poised for something. The riffs of the Interpol-styled ‘Kenworth’ chug onwards waiting for a hint; a signal of a shift in tempo or tone. But it doesn’t come, and while the shimmering guitars are blissfully soothing, it leaves nothing behind to hook onto.

Shuffling uncomfortably on stage the band avoid the gaze of the people below, almost embarrassed by their lack of hold. Melting sonic distortions over ‘Some Power’ they come closer to capturing the crowds attention, when whistling through the fuzzy fog of sound ‘Warrior’ fills the elusive gap. Unfortunately it drifts off all too soon.

A polar opposite, playing around with vaulting keyboards, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti are instantly captivating. Haloed by Hammer Horror green light, songs like the efferevescent ‘Bright Blue Skies’ take on a life seperate from that found on record. The wiry New York Dolls figure of Ariel is as playful and hypnotic as his Shakespearean character namesake. After years in relative obscurity, languishing literally in The Doldrums, now it’s time for some fun. Hamming it as the Jaggeresque showman on ‘Jules Lost His Jewels’, the frontman and band alike inhabits worlds of creation with shrugging insousciance, spewing out a stream of consciousness over the traintrack drums of ‘Getting High In The Morning’.

Throw in a bonfire and a couple of naked chicks and this could be Woodstock. Directing the band round fractured pathways, Ariel even pauses to place keyboard player Kenny Key’s fingers on the keys he wants. Far from playing the straight men to the Primadonna frontman the band anticipate every change in tempo. Taking the lead on ‘Menopause Man’, guitarist Tim Koh’s line “rape me, castrate me, make me gay” seems almost comedic as it’s chucked out with such a  downbeat delivery. Current single ‘Round Round”s disco beats then gets the crowd shimmying as Ariel shuffles off, fag poised in hand. This is one enigma who knows when to keep them wanting more.

By Kate Parkin