Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti / Cryptacize The Media Cub, Vancouver BC March 21

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti / Cryptacize The Media Cub, Vancouver BC March 21
When it comes to stagecraft, Ariel Pink (pictured) doesn't have the greatest of reputations. In fact, live shows by this no-fi pop weirdo are notorious for being some of most cringeworthy around, repeatedly written off as train wrecks more akin to some amateurish karaoke performance than a night to remember. And while this is perhaps a bit overly harsh, the Media Club witnessed first hand just why Pink has earned such a career-damaging rep.

Following a lacklustre set of MOR indie rock from Asthmatic Kitty's Cryptacize, Pink and his Haunted Graffiti at first seemed to have learned a thing or two from past mistakes. Any sloppy, pre-programmed instrumentation was traded for a full, four-man live band, who, believe it or not, actually made Pink's boombox symphonies sound surprisingly slick and professional. And in the beginning, the haggard-looking Pink finally acted as if he enjoyed being under the stage lights, putting some weight into his Prince-like squeal as he broke out the occasional hip-shake and even a bit of crowd-surfing.

But by mid-set we had serious problems. Directly following the blue-eyed '70s soul of the band's stunning new single "Can't Hear My Eyes," Pink seemed to lose all steam and revert into an ill-mannered curmudgeon who could care less about this show or this audience. Soon he was bitching about being tired and wanting to "take five," "go to bed" and "give up," leaving his band struggling to keep up appearances as he sulked near the backstage and even apathetically sang a song or two lying down.

While none of the prima donna's blatant "half assing it" seemed to phase the diehards at the font, it did have half this sold-out crowd making an early exit. After all, why stick around if even Ariel Pink himself didn't want to be there?