By now, you all know that Ariel Pink ate a cheeseburger on stage at Terminal 5. You also, likely, know that he called the set short because he didn’t feel well and that his bikini-clad drummer took to the stage, in lieu of an encore, to apologize on behalf of his “leader” before offering earthly affections to the glimmering specter of Kim Fowley. What you might not know is that before any of that, there was a man (or band) called Jack Name who played a taut set of outsider pop gloom that grumbled like Jandek imbued with observable rhythm and tonality or, better yet, a series of Ian Curtis bedroom etudes (had he skipped thrift on the suicide solution). You might also not know that, from the get go, Mr. Pink acknowledged that he was feeling like shit and so his energy might be somewhat subpar but that he trusted his band and light show would compensate for his own failings, that day, as a performer.
Some, in the crowd (and “professionals” in the pit), suggested his sickness was bullshit and that he was just being a prick on account of not selling the place out but I don’t know. I’m not all that familiar with Ariel Pink and what I do know, I don’t care for (70s light sound revivalism is just not my thing…this gig was undertaken as a fact-finding mission) but I thought the man played pretty solid as long as he did play and looking over the photos I took that day, I can see a distinct look of pain in his face when he’s not relishing the fruits of a NYC diner specialty (if you order anything other than burgers or eggs, you’re a dick).
And, yeah, having food delivered to you on stage is pretty insulting but Ariel Pink is an agitator, isn’t he? A man on the outside always keen to stick his fingers in the ribs of an establishment that heralds old maids and tea-bagging egoists because there’s money to be made in the calculations of privileged agitation and the petty few sitting fat atop the credit crunch deserve all the disdain that’s coming their way.
I respect him for that. Hell, I even enjoyed the chunks of his set that weren’t all porcelain polish plays and I appreciated that he spent so much of his time in the shadows, lurking behind his sound like a man defying the princely pleasures of life above ground.
Am I fan of his music, now? Not really. I mean, I definitely get it. Easy listening is pretty pickings and who wouldn’t want a weekend at Plato’s Retreat and I know there’s a broad swath of weirdness he set out before Haunted Graffiti started happening and maybe that’s where I’ll find my niche but, mostly, I walked away from this gig appreciating Ariel Pink as rock star shtick, playing up the nonsense racket with a set of saccharine prismatics.
Ariel Pink / Jack Name @ Terminal 5, NYC (presented in no particular order)