Coachella 2011: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti agitates the crowd

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Ariel Pink
, his microphone apparently haunted by a lack of volume, stalked around the stage inside the Gobi tent Friday afternoon without a clear sense of purpose. He spent most of the set smoking cigarettes with his back to the audience, a la early Jim Morrison, only without the sinewy sexual charisma.

Wearing a see-through lace shirt, red sunglasses and a studded black belt, his shoulder-length blond hair tangled, Pink frustrated the crowd, and willingly so, it seemed. He’s known for that, though.


He has said that his music -- dark, ethereal and lovely in a hypnotic, somber way -- was never meant to be performed live. But for all that, his backing band is skilled and made up for Pink’s disaffected approach to his set.

Photos: Faces of Coachella 2011

At one point Pink left the stage, ‘I’m sorry -- I know you hate me now,’ he said before disappearing 15 minutes into the show.

‘That’s it? Are you serious?’ said one fan as a confused grumble rose from the crowd. His band stood there for a while and then finally left to retrieve him. It didn’t take long, and this time when he came out he appeared to make a bit more effort to interact with the audience, although his energy felt jittery and unbalanced.

Still, the late-afternoon foray into surreal, psych-tinged weirdness was worth it. What would Coachella be without a few deeply eccentric artists?

-- Jessica Gelt