Ariel Pink, Os Mutantes delight Music Box crowd with their dual visions, common dynamicism


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By Seraphina Lotkhamnga

Those in search of a hero who embodied legacy or inspirational innovation – or both – were offered a luxurious affair with Os Mutantes and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti on Thursday night. It was not only the last show of a 23-date co-headlining tour between two very different pioneering acts, but it was also a revival for the eccentric and particularly unreserved.

Graciously stepping aside to allow Ariel Pink to headline before his hometown crowd, Brazilian Tropicalia legends Os Mutantes quickly transformed the venue into an avant-garde hurricane of both psychedelic and progressive rock. With compulsive but cheerful elements of bossa nova and samba swooping down into the frenetically dancing audience, the atmosphere only grew more boisterous when the band launched into fan favorites such as “Bat Macumba,” and “A Minha Menina.”

As the only original member since the band’s formation in 1966, Sérgio Dias led the seven-piece with the same confidence he presumably had in earlier decades of their career – balancing shredding and singing like a true guitar hero, especially when he transitioned into a solo from “My Guitar Gently Weeps” during “Ando Meio Desligado.” With Esméria Bulgari, Henrique Peters, Vitor Trida and Dias teaming up for four-part harmonies, Os Mutantes delighted with every twist and turn.

Before easing into their political portion of the set with songs such as “Baghdad Blues,” Dias, 59, told the crowd he was grateful for the chance to play on eclectic bills around North America again. Obviously touched, he announced “We got back together in 2006 for you guys and it’s been wonderful to have such a great reception. I mean, look at your age.”

Almost three decades Dias’ junior but armed with no less unabashedly expressive music, Ariel Rosenberg and his Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti followed Os Mutantes to the stage for an equally energetic set.

Rosenberg did his best to ignore playful hecklers in regards to his sunglasses, and naturally stayed afloat on his own cloud with songs such as “Beverly Kills” and “Bright Lit Blue Skies.” He did, however, take a moment to acknowledge his style: “I know this is not conventional pop,” he said, “but it doesn’t mean we can’t make something together in this moment.”

Full of the usual shushing and vocals, which slid from shy falsetto down to a light baritone, the band went on to play Rosenberg’s concoctions of lo-fi pop, funk and psychedelic rock. Although there were a few intense moments when the metal-heavy “Butt-House Blondies” came into the set, it did return full-circle with the first measures of the soft off-kilter “Round and Round.” With members of Os Mutantes joining the band onstage for the song and Rosenberg repeatedly exclaiming, “Oh my god, my hometown!” Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti played late into the night with no intention of breaking for an encore.

L.A. quintet Teen Inc. preceded Os Mutantes.