Wednesday, August 6, 2008

[The Record Crate] Pink Noise and Solid Rock

I am a fan of Ariel Pink's brand of twisted experimental pop, finding his slapdash, home-recorded albums to be repositories of the best and worst of popular culture -- often sounding like someone trying to sing along with a radio as another idly scans the dial. But after seeing his show at the Spanish Moon a couple years ago, when he enlisted Slobot to fill in as his band, I started to wonder if I was projecting instead of receiving the things of value I saw in Pink's act.

Then, in August 2006, Pitchfork announced that Pink was playing a one-off gig at Bogalusa's Centennial festival, as a part of his stepfather's mayoral campaign. A friend who had witnessed the same train-wreck show remarked, "He'll never make it out alive," and I was inclined to agree, but I also needed to see this, so I went. I stood in the back of an abandoned park full of carnival games along with Ariel Pink's mom and sister, a homeless guy, a small documentary crew from Los Angeles and 10 thousand mosquitoes as Pink and a couple performers took to the dimly-lit bandstand festooned with Old Glory.

The most unexpected thing happened in this perverse setting: Pink played his songs straight without the static and the arty naïveté (or is it naïve artiness), and the songs were lovely, lonely synthesized tales of a wild-eyed kid trying to find some kind of meaning in it all, crooning about "the big silence" into the blank night air. It remains one of the most poignant live music moments I've experienced. What form his show will take in the early show Wednesday at the Spanish Moon is anyone's guess, but I am willing to bet it will be different than anything you've seen before.

(Ed: here is an account of that show I posted at outsideleft)

Homegrown brilliance will take the stage at the Manship Theatre when Tab Benoit, David Egan, Benjy Davis and Maggie Warwick appear as a part of the Louisiana Songwriters Show on Thursday night. Benoit and Davis are no strangers to Baton Rouge audiences; Lafayette's David Egan, appearing on the heels of his stellar, encyclopedic blues album You Don't Know Your Mind and Shreveport's Maggie Warwick will join them for a night of great music you should get to know.

Oh, and if you're into safe bets, The Hold Steady is one of the best bands in the country, and they are playing Thursday at Chelsea's. Go see them so you won't one day, after they have ascended into their rightful spots in the American Rock Pantheon and become bloated aftershocks of their hungrier youth, lament that you didn't see them way back when. Just go see them. Also, upstart rockers What Made Milwaukee Famous make a pit-stop on Saturday, and the band still known as Blind Melon, soldiering on 13 years after the death of their iconic frontman Shannon Hoon with new singer Travis Warren, will be at The Varsity on Saturday as well.

Link to original with local events calendar

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