Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is the title of Ariel Pink’s new record, released on September 15th of this year. Bobby Jameson was an American songwriter that gained a cult following in the 60’s. He was more famous, however, for getting into trouble in public and attempting to kill himself on more than one occasion. After his death in 2015, Ariel Rosenberg, known by his stage name Ariel Pink, researched Jameson and related to him so much that he had a great need to dedicate his latest record to him.
Ariel Pink is on tour now for the record’s promotion and he stopped at Tipitina’s again on Wednesday night. Ariel is known in the music industry for pioneering the “hypnagogic pop” genre, which is a description of pop music that draws heavily on the recording process and culture of earlier eras, particularly the 1980’s. Pink’s music is often released on cassettes and generally produced with a lo-fi, oversaturated sound. Because of this method, his music takes on a nostalgic, new wave feel with some added psychedelia and humor derived from Rosenberg's cartoony personality.
On the road with Ariel is an assortment of companions including his touring musicians, guest band Bite Marx, and a female comedian that also opened the show. After Bite Marx, local band “Trance Farmers” warmed up the stage with their spastic, quirky indie rock, then the comedian who started the night came out to introduce Ariel Pink. She was rather obnoxious and did a silly impression of someone from Jersey or the northeast, while throwing Swedish fish candies at the audience. Finally, Ariel came out in the middle of her unfocused rantings, ushered her offstage saying, “She’s just doing her thing!” and joined his band.
The excitement for the new album was apparent as Pink began the setlist with four back-to-back tracks from it. “Time to Live” was a layered, less than traditional, distorted jam of chants and samples that started things off with an open mind. Three more songs from Dedicated to Bobby Jameson followed: the title track, “Time to Meet Your God” and “I Wanna Be Young.” Ariel kept the set balanced with some of his top tracks, as well, including “Only In My Dreams,” “Put Your Number in My Phone,” and “Do Yourself a Favor” from his project, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. All in all, the live experience of his music is much fuller and clearer than the recordings. Although, he still acchieved an extent of distortion in his vocals with filters and a couple interesting techniques of holding the microphone, sometimes actually swallowing it.
The show was much like an intimate time warp, which is surely what Pink strives to achieve. It seemed to be more special than usual, though, as Ariel referred to New Orleans as his “hometown” and stated that his mother was attending the show, so “it’s extra embarrassing.” He had apparently moved to NOLA in the 3rd grade. Pink even revealed that after the show, they would be making their way to Circle Bar for some more fun.
There was much fun to be had at Tip’s, however. The set continued with a mixture of songs from the new record and old hits. Their final track was Ariel’s cover of Donnie & Joe Emerson’s “Baby,” which brought the lights down low and the mood to a romance. After disappearing briefly, the band came out for five more songs. The encore renewed the life of the party with some spooky, surf rock-influenced tracks: “Bright Lit Blue Skies” and “Nighttime is Great!” Of course, Pink gave the crowd what they wanted, and made the very last song his big hit “Round and Round.” This had everyone singing together with mutual satisfaction. Next time Ariel Pink visits his “hometown” of NOLA, he’ll undeniably be welcomed back with the same enthusiasm.