Ariel Pink made his return to Toronto on Halloween Eve, at the Velvet Underground.
Bitemark opened the show. It was very up-beat, and silly. It was essentially just tracks that didn’t end in which he would then go to the soundboard and put on a different track, that just flowed into another. He sang about “Christian Singles”, which was, interesting….
Ariel took the stage around 10pm, wearing pleather black pants and an orange tank with a clearly drawn on jack-o-lantern, with a garbage bag over his head with a rip in it around his face. He opened with “Another Weekend” off of his new album , Dedicated to Bobby Jameson. This was EVEN BETTER live. There was an abundance of energy, and the synths were exaggerated in the best way that gave it the up-beat gloom that this song carries. This was the perfect way to opening such a fantastic and vibey show.
Following this was an eccentric performance of “Nighttime is Great.” It was crazy, but in a good way of course- the Pink way. There was tons of strobe at the appropriate times in the song, and again so much energy, especially from Don Bolles. Bolles always has an interesting presence as he makes his weird but ever so desired expressions that match with the strange feeling this show brings. You should know going into it that its weird, and so perfectly outlandish.
“I’m not a rapist- I’m a dream date narcissist” he said before playing the song itself, potentially in reference to the shenanigans that occurred at a show a few nights earlier.
The last portion of the show was very impressive. When approaching the end of a show, many find themselves drifting and awaiting for it to finish as it drags on. In this case, it didn’t. He strategically made this setlist, because following “Kitchen Witch”, the show just picked up with classics of his such as “One Summer night”, “Baby” , “Menopause Man”, “Round and Round”, “Bright Lit Blue Skies”, and “Kinski Assassin” . ALL of these performances were fantastic.
Pink impressed me. The venue changed from Phoenix to Velvet Underground, which was perfect as this made the show carry such an intimate feel; Pink’s previous visit to Toronto was at Timefest which was a much larger space. This show was atmospheric, dark at times, maybe even “spooky”, and so much fun. It was the perfect show for the night before Halloween.