Review: Ariel Pink + Vivian Girls at the Casbah

It’s difficult to comprehend the full extent of the opening act, Gary Wilson. On stage stands five men in the most intriguing of clothes (and dresses), fronted by Wilson who is adorning a sex doll taped to him. Despite the eccentricity of their personalties, their music is actually quite endearing even if the lyrics are dark and sinister as they obsess about women. They are an intriguing band with a performance more akin to conceptual art.

Vivian Girls @ the Casbah

The anticipation preceding the Vivian Girls was clear as silence filled the small room that is the Casbah. Even prompted by bassist, Kickball Katy, to chat with those around us as they set up. It appeared we were shy to do so, or maybe we were just really eager for them to play. “Such A Joke” felt complete seeing the vocal harmonies exchanged between the three. “My Baby Wants Me Dead” was intense bisected simply with their vocals. Before me are three girls who are having fun whilst making some serious, skuzzy pop. Personal highlight was definitely during “Damaged” with the prolonged instrumental ending whereby the girls seamlessly all change instruments. Thumping, fast-paced beats with jangly guitars and the most wonderful of pop harmonies as led by Cassie Ramone, the Vivian Girls are one force to be reckoned with.

Vivian Girls @ the Casbah

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti @ the Casbah

In the summer of 2008, I fell in love with a track by Ariel Pink titled “Alisa”. As that same year was about to come to a close, Ariel Pink released, “Can’t Hear My Eyes” – one of my favourite tracks … ever! Throughout that year I had thoroughly discovered this little gem that is Ariel Pink. Backed by a full band last night, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti showed me what I discovered in a year reduced to a mere 45 minutes. “For Kate I Wait” and “Can’t Hear My Eyes” provided subtle, wispy moments, whilst “Interesting Results” and “Politely Declined” were highly animated tracks with Pink singing amidst the crowd. Ariel Pink has officially become the soundtrack to my LA stay.

As small as this show may have been, this double bill tonight as become one of the best shows of the year sporting flair with just the right amount of intensity. Neither was overwhelming, nor did they bear an insignificant presence. Together Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and the Vivian Girls feed off each other in energy and ideas as they shared the one staged tonight.

More photos here.

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