Ariel Pink continues down path of oddities

Ariel Pink - Bimbo's 365 - February 7th, 2015Photos by Justin Yee // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Ariel Pink with Jack Name //
Bimbo’s 365 Club – San Francisco
February 7th, 2015 //

I fear that the average Beverly Hills homeowner would call the authorities if they saw Ariel Pink sauntering down their wealthy streets, but Pink is as authentic of a Hollywood persona as any star of the screen. What makes Pink and his music so profound is how outright poppy it is, achieving this from some of the farthest fringes in the music industry. Furthermore, his outlying nature is magnified by his lack of consistency and the ability to keep his fans on their feet at almost every move he makes. Well, as a Bay Area storm broke for a few hours, the loyal followers made their way to the edge of North Beach to congregate at the Church of Freak (aka Bimbo’s 365 Club) for one night only.

Ariel Pink - Bimbos 365 - February 7th, 2015

It’s not terribly often that lovers of psych-pop (or whatever you wanna call this) get to convene in this historic space, so there was some expected buzz whirling around this night. Many lingered in the space early on to catch a performance by up-and-coming Castle Face artist Jack Name. The eclectically out-there artist, whose real name is John Webster Johns, is coming off a brand-new release called Weird Moons, which much like Pink, is turning the term “pop music” on its head. Another shared theme is the chameleonic nature at which they drive their artistry, constantly in ebb and flow. This night featured the band as a three-piece, fuzzed-out, bomb-throwing, new-wave shrapnel into the faces of those in early attendance. At times the listener could hear elements of “Melody Day”-era Caribou. Jack Name is equally as sonically pleasing onstage as they are in a set of audiophile headphones.

By the time Pink had taken the stage, the anticipation for the LA native to return to SF was palpable. Now performing sans The Haunted Graffiti, Pink casually walked onto stage in an outfit that looked more like it belonged on the set of “Blow” than on Ariel Pink. It was apparent early on that we were not getting the pink-haired, quasi-drag version that many know and love. Did that diminish from the show? Well, maybe not definitively, but the bizarro-dial did seem to be turned down a certain percentage as he launched through the majority of the tracks from late-2014’s pom pom. “White Freckles” stood out early in the show as the band seemed tighter on this night than at a show this writer saw in LA in November. There also seemed to be few more Haunted Graffiti songs featured on this night than the previous show seen on this album cycle. Tracks like “Sexual Athletics” and “Jell-O” might alienate the casual listener, but if you hoist your freak flag for an hour plus, you are sure to walk away knowing you experienced something unique.

Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade
White Freckles
Four Shadows
Not Enough Violence
Put Your Number in My Phone
One Summer Night
Picture Me Gone
Black Ballerina
Menopause Man (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti song)
Life in L.A. (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti song)
Negativ Ed
Sexual Athletics
Dayzed Inn Daydreams

Bright Lit Blue Skies (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti song)
Goth Bomb
Nude Beach A Go-Go
Dinosaur Carebears (Extended Jam)


  1. He’s played at the make out room, bottom of the hill and chapel on valencia. I saw him at bottom of the hill in 2007 and it was amazing. Classic rock and roll with a mosh pit and JD being handed around plus a fight when the show ended. This was a good but watered down show. I was there and almost got kicked out.

  2. Has he ever played any other venue in San Francisco? He only seems to play Bimbo’s.

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