Why would an artist break the smoking ban?
Merely a stunt so they don’t have to play a second encore?
Or is it a statement, a cry of rock ‘n’ roll defiance in an overly politically correct age.
Whatever the intentions, by sparking up, Ariel Pink ends the show.
Supporting Ariel Pink tonight is East Princes whose sixties psychedelic harmonies, could fool you into thinking they are from sunnier climbs, their brief exchanges with the crowd reveal that the band are in fact Northerners who are studying at Glasgow School of Art.
The band’s golden vocals accompanied with the guitarist’s amusingly effortless performance are what make East Princes so enjoyable to watch.
The three members are all strong technical musicians and translate their songs with a faultless clarity.
The Yawns have a completely different approach.
Through out the set some off their equipment lets out a high pitched whistle, admirably perhaps the band couldn’t care less: “can anyone hear anything?” the aptly sleepy (or mangled) frontman asks, before diving headlong into another thrash-y dose of nonchalant surfer rock.
Ariel Pink, enters the stage and after a jokey false start he refuses to start the set unless everyone erases the faux pas from their memory.
As the rest of the band urge the audience to cheer louder, it’s clear he has no problem keeping the crowd waiting; most bands trying such onstage tomfoolery seem corny; Ariel Pink and company can pull it off.
Humour is such a big part of the music and the music is so exceptional that the combination works.
All of the members of the band seem like a trans dimensional cast of Fraggle Rock.
Each member giving exuberant effort, it’s unclear if it’s all about to fall apart, but it never does.
Highlights include ‘Black Ballerina’ for which Pink is joined at the front of the stage by his Cheshire cat grinning, bikini clad, Lemmy lookalike drummer Don Bolles for some aerobic vocals and waggling.
A few favourites are excluded from the set, most notably ‘Only In My Dreams’, but the vivacious selection of songs chosen from their latest album Pom pom, including ‘Lipstick’, ‘White Freckles’ and ‘Four Shadows’ doesn’t leave anyone too disheartened.
The sound that will carry most people home tonight is ‘Round and Round’, the chilled out recording gives no warning to the communal groove fest it induces.
Everyone is dancing to this obvious crowd favourite; the band attempt to play on with the lights on but call it quits.
That’s all folks “unless you have weed” is the frenetic drummers closing statement.
Cigarette fumes may have cut short the night, but nobody here could possibly feel hard done by.
Words: Peter Johnstone
Photos: Nagwa Rahman