Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Belong and Ariel Pink


Belong’s show at the 7th Street Entry on February 17th was about as exciting as you could expect from an ambient instrumental shoegaze duo. Hey, they don’t call them shoegazers for nothing. Belong didn’t seem to want any attention drawn to themselves (they hid in the shadows bundled up in their winter gear throughout their entire set). Instead, our attention was drawn to the video projection that sorta went along to Belong’s sonic textures. No, it wasn’t too exciting. But it also wasn’t boring. I actually found it quite pleasant. I now listen to Belong’s debut album, October Language, when I go to bed. It works.

Belong’s set was exactly what I expected (which is probably why I wasn’t put off by them), but I had no idea what to expect from Ariel Pink. I had heard that his shows were questionable, but I wanted to see for myself. I was also drawn by curiosity of his backing band. For this tour, Ariel Pink decided to break his long-standing tradition of playing solo. He announced that the first band in each touring city to send him an email would get to be his back-up band for the day. Justifying his decision, he claimed, “The element of surprise will keep me from falling asleep onstage.” Until I saw him perform, I thought he was just joking about falling asleep onstage.

Ariel Pink

Solo artists who make quirky music with little concern for musicianship generally make up for their shortcomings through showmanship and crowd interaction. Apparently, this idea had never occurred to Ariel. Sure he wore funny clothes, but that wasn’t enough to make his live show entertaining. Ariel didn’t once look at the audience, and he sure as hell didn’t talk to us. As a result, his songs all ran together and became an indistinguishable blob of reverb. His “backing band” didn’t join him until his last song. I thought that things would finally start to get interesting, but Ariel didn’t even introduce the band, he didn’t even talk to them. I gathered that the band was a group of friends from the Perpich arts high school (home to Melodious Owl). They were really good considering that they were able to keep up with Ariel even though he couldn’t (or refused to) keep a steady tempo. They were also much more interesting to watch than Ariel. But apparently his plan worked – much to my surprise, he didn’t fall asleep onstage.

Ariel Pink's Haunted 7th Street Entry Band


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