‘Dedicated To Bobby Jameson’ is the record that sees rock’n’roll underdog Ariel Pink grow up. Gone are the sound experiments, the jingles and the skits. Not bad thing, to be honest, but in their place are accomplished and intimate ballads, laced with Ariel’s signature hooks, production and humour, making for a very special record. His eleventh studio album to date, Ariel has been out on the road supporting the record, and we were #blessed enough to catch him at Gorilla on a very humid August evening.
Following a short support slot from musician and visual artist Jorge Elbrecht, up stepped the evergreen Tim Burgess, better known to some as frontman to North West stalwarts The Charlatans. Out supporting a new solo LP ‘As I Was Now’, the set is a refreshing change of direction from Burgess, backed up by a small band to produce danceable electronic indie pop.
With a XXL dose of smoke machine haze, Ariel Pink & Co. take to the stage to huge applause. Though finding reasonable success in recent years, he’s still something of a cult hero and tonight’s sold out show only cements that status. He kicks off with ‘Kitchen Witch’, one of the finest takes from ‘Dedicated…’ before diving into ‘Feels Like Heaven’. Though he carries a reputation for onstage meltdowns and self-indulgent abandonment (again, no bad thing…) he and the band are on top form tonight.
We’re soon treated to what is probably Pink’s finest track to date and one of the highlights of the evening, ‘Another Weekend’. An intimate ballad with trademark surreal synths and immersive harmonies, the crowd lap it up. The majority of the material from tonight’s set comes from ‘Dedicated…’, with plenty of rarities thrown in for the die-hard fans. As ever, Pink avoids playing ‘the hits’; there’s no ‘Put Your Number In My Phone’, ‘Round And Round’ or ‘Mature Themes’, though his signature cover of Joe and Donnie Emerson’s ‘Baby’ goes down a storm to bring his set to a close with a huge swaying singalong. A quick encore of more raucous rarities follow, bringing things to a close. Yes, we were hoping for the hits but Ariel’s auteur approach to music is what helps draw this crowd to Gorilla in the first place. In summery, a superb first half and a “very okay” second.
Ariel Pink performed at Gorilla on Wednesday 15th August 2018.