In the early evening of Coachella's opening day last Friday, Ariel Pink was having none of it. While his band Haunted Graffiti gamely ran through the numbers, the lace-clad and improbably popular soft rocker maligned the sound engineer, traipsed around the stage with his back to the audience, smoked cigarettes, swayed and generally avoided mic duties. There's no knowing what precipitated the silent-enough (he began limply singing towards the end of the set) protest, though pinning it on drugs might be underestimating the reliably pop-theoretic Mr. Ariel. In a recent interview with Sirius XMU (via the Daily Swarm), he had this to say:
“When everybody has their meltdown, it's not a meltdown ... they have every reason to be having the meltdown. It's a dose of reality, they're a real person, it pops up every now and then.”
That we're still mulling the performance points to its success. But also, does the notion that he's self-aware of a meltdown make this feel a bit like off-kilter performance art? Still, for a weekend packed with weird, like Lil B's I'm Gay announcement the following day, it seems like Ariel can do no wrong, wrong or right.