[phlipcam video] Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti + Os Mutantes @ Royale

It didn't take too long into Sunday's show at Royale for me to realize that all of the features/reviews/profiles pinning Ariel Pink as an eccentric weren't just construed in the name of dramatic licence. I mean, I'm no doctor, but even before his Haunted Graffiti ensemble began playing, it wasn't too difficult to deduce that Pink is likely suffering some degree of chemical imbalance.

Let's rundown the pre-show order of events: The band sound checked their own instruments, as any self-respecting band of meager means would. Pink, being the only member who doesn't play an instrument, hovered over his keyboardist, micromanaging as he tuned. Then he paced, back and forth across the stage, sipping his beer and never looking anything but uncomfortable. He'd stop to pay a visit to his keyboardist on the other side of the stage and plead with the sound technician to place more reverb in the mics or crank the Casio way the fuck up. And then he'd pace. This went on for about 20 minutes. Pacing and pleading. Without leaving the stage, they launched into "Beverly Kills," and it became clear why the sounds emanating from the keyboards were of the utmost importance in helping him deliver on a set of music that could've conceivable been used to soundtrack a haunted carnival episode of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" Then he paced right on into the audience.

The Haunted Graffiti outfit is truly the perfect backing band for Pink, both style wise and in their desire to kick the retrograde jams. And while the songs from Before Today were the standouts on the night ("Menopause Man" and "Fright Night" in particular), it was refreshing to hear him reach into his back catalog, unsurprisingly unfazed by the whirlwind of publicity their recent album has garnered them (with the above show-closing footage being the best indicator of that). Also worth noting is despite the fact that I've listened to "Round and Round" approximately 5,000 times since its release, it still sounds so god-damn delectable. I just about melted right into the dance floor when they hit the chorus.

I heard more than a couple people mention last night that it was Pink who reached out to Os Mutantes to co-headline this current tour taking them across the US. Coincidentally, Os Mutantes are the type of band that I see Haunted Graffiti evolving into: a fuller sound, greater stage presence, same degree of headfuck psychedelia, and just more of a well versed, profound live show, because I can only assume that it was Mutantes that are toting around that sorta-elaborate light setup. The only real issue I had with Os Mutantes set was the venue. Whereas Pink is sadistically suited for the club, Mutantes probably would've been better served in a more cavernous venue like the Orpheum. In fact, I'm going to implore them to return to Boston to play the Orpheum. The hundred or so people wildin' out at the show last night will go. I'll go. I'll tell my five friends to go. It'll be awesome. 

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