Ariel Pink, with Haunted Graffiti/photos by Brandon K. Hernsberger
Four opening bands? Really, Walter’s? Four? It’s not often that our fair city scores an act as interesting and original as Ariel Pink (whose MySpace page lists his band Haunted Graffiti as from "Cuckoo Land, California"; but it seems all too often that when we do score such a thing, something inevitably happens to fuck it up. Four opening bands is too many. It just is.
Nothing necessarily against any of the acts who did perform (more on that later); it’s not their fault, obviously. And I guess I’m not sure whose fault it is, but since I already said something about Walter’s, I’ll go with them. Shame, shame Walter’s. Four is too many for a simple reason: the audience gets bored, and then the audience leaves. It happened about halfway into Chairlift’s, who preceded headliner Pink, set a shame because the band was really good.
Brooklyn pop tarts Chairlift
The lead singer, Caroline something, sounds a ton like Beach House and a little like the Cure. It worked amazingly well in a setting like Walter’s, but there were like 50 people there to see it; people wonder why Houston gets pegged as a city bands like this skip. I arrived a bit too late to see the Wiggins, but heard later that the local one-man band was one of the highlights of the whole night.
Fellow locals Balaclavas were next; and since one of the first rules we all learn as critics is if you can’t write at least one good thing about a band and/or its record, better off skipping the the review altogether, I’ll say this: Balaclavas was there.
The night picked up when yet another Houston band, Wicked Poseur got up. These guys fucking rule, seriously. They seemed to have half of Walter’s - I want to say it was stage left - incredibly intrigued as the other half simply stood there yawning.
About time: Pink barely beats curfew
Wicked Poseur has gotten some pretty standout reviews from Skyline Network and Vice magazine, accolades much deserved. Finally, a little after 1 a.m., Ariel Pink and his Haunted Graffiti started their set due to like 35 minutes of sound check - come on, Walter’s sound guy.
Pink is impossibly difficult to peg into a single (or double, triple even) genre. He’s an amazing performer with range even Meatloaf would be proud of. At one point you could have sworn a woman was singing, and then about seven minutes later I did a double-take to make sure the ghost of Ian Curtis wasn’t standing in front of us.
Only problem is, Pink had a mere 40 minutes until 2 a.m., so we didn’t get all that we could have. But overall, what we did get great. If he’s new to you, he shouldn’t be for long. Promise. – Brandon K. Hernsberger
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