Show Reviews

Galapagos Review:


Thanks for a most unusual affair in many aspects. Always a different approach, and each time you gain greater & greater command of the stage, excellent presence. TONIGHTS THE NIGHT (it’s gonna be alright) was one heckuva a sleek opener and appropriately set the stage for what was to come that evening. the best part of this opener is that im saying to myself, i know this song but your genius approach guised it well until the obvious chorus, man that was so nice. imho, this wasn’t a Hired Guns show, oh no, it was Ariel and the (sometimes really hard rockin’) Lounge Lizards interspersed with classic and spot on Latin Vegas Mosaique Extravaganza. I gotta tell you, watching you perform with Steve is like musical osmosis. The fun part of this is the journey of how & where you two will end up next. Hearing I’m The One live again was really cool cause my goodness what a effing great ditty, total hypnotic on all levels. The Axl dedication was awesome and man that song that I cannot remember the name to from Life & Times that I never really liked on the CD had a new life completely on its’ own viva La Tom Jones Goes Latino – classic. That grand piano addition was another turn, quite fitting for the venue. The last few tunes, the overall ensemble was really starting to gel. Lucille was nice to hear and is really such a friggin awesome energizer, im sure it will continue to develop for stage. By the close of Pretty In Pink, the entire band was in that floating space, wondrous and glowing. It felt like the seeds of life had been sewn.

Very Pleasant Journey, Thank You.
All the best, Max

Brooklyn Pride Review:

Brooklyn Pride (Brooklyn, New York)
Event Date: Saturday, June 12, 2010
Event Recap by: Jenn E.

Brooklyn Pride was my first experience seeing Ariel Aparicio perform live. Having trained into the city from Washington DC earlier in the day – I was feeling slightly tired and was hoping for a pick-me-up to get me feeling energetic and joyful.

I got more!

My happiest moment came before the concert – when I was finally able to meet Ariel after months of listening to his music and admiring him. What a kind, graceful human being. (For more on our meeting, look for the newsletter releasing July 1).

I sat down in the grass surrounding the stage at Prospect Park and made myself comfortable. The crowd was scattered about in different places – many attempting to find cooler shade to hide from the intense heat that devoured the fresh outdoor air.

Once Ariel’s set started – I forgot about the heat and the exhaustion from traveling earlier that morning – and I became overwhelmed with what I cannot describe in any other way except to use the word “joy”. Ariel’s presence on stage from the beginning of his set was electrifying – he loves what he does. There is no doubt. He is comfortable and confident. He began by singing the lyrics from the soundtrack Free to be You and Me that go ”when I grow up I’m gonna be somebody special – somebody special is what I’m gonna be – when I grow up I’m gonna be somebody special – I’ll be me.” It was the perfect start to a set that showed so much personality and originality. Even Ariel’s cover of Madonna’s “American Life” (you can see that video from Brooklyn Pride HERE ) felt new to me – a different creation from the original – re-invented with his smooth, intoxicating voice.

His newest single “Lucille” was something I had looked forward to seeing live and I loved it – especially with an appearance by Khalid Rivera – featured in the song itself and also in the video. Ariel was joined in the audience by his husband and his son – when he sang “Hang Around” (written around the time his son was born) – he pointed out his little boy to the crowd – so beautiful to see how much he adores his son and family.

Each song was proud – each one of his creations was alive and it grabbed the attention of the crowd. I could see faces moving, people drawing closer to the stage – because he has that charisma. I loved every song – it made me feel hopeful that in a time where music had seemed to be to be lost a movement of over-production and lyrics that lack substance – I felt raw, amazing talent shining through the whole set.

Brooklyn Pride was a true win – for Ariel and his band, the fans, and especially for me – my first live experience was unforgettable – and the trip from D.C. to see him was completely worth it!

Pride Benefit Review:

June 13, 2010
with GSX, Athena Reich, Josh Zuckerman
Pier 66, New York City
By Deb Draisan:

June has been an absolute sunburst of activity this year, so it was no surprise that The Power of Pride celebration was scheduled for the same exact date as the Puerto Rican Day Parade. The good news is that the parade was not in full force yet as I headed in, so I didn’t have to head over to Pier 66 via the Bronx (Giuliani’s overenthusiastic embracing of sidewalk barricades hasn’t yet subsided,) but the bad news was that our potential audience would be otherwise engaged.

Also, as is the norm for late spring and early summer in New York, the constant humidity had brought in the rain clouds. Luckily for us, the pier is completely roofed in and also serves delectable treats, thus extending our outreach capabilities.

Athena Reich was lovely and GSX was mind-blowing (I’m a complete sucker for chicks who can wail on guitar.) Ariel’s set was right in between the two, and the street team was hoping to capitalize on their enthusiasm. At the end of the day, we wound up with about ten new signatures and had completely run out of download cards, so we were pretty happy.

Ariel’s set was show-stopping. When Khalid Rivera was brought onstage to accompany Ariel for “Lucille,” even the event photographer was beside herself (she had to have snapped a hundred photos.) Ariel, who had been crooning prettily in a conservative suit jacket, stripped down to a tee shirt honoring Hole’s new single, “Skinny Little Bitch,” and the priorly subdued (yet appreciative) crowd was on its feet. When Lucille comes to town, you’d better watch your toes underneath her heels! She’s currently rocketing to number one on “The Click List” (don’t forget to vote, Kiddies!)

There were dedications and tears. The band played aptly surrounded by palm fronds and tropical fruit as a sendup to Ariel’s Cuban roots. The family was at home waiting for him, as was mine, so I had to rush off right after he completed his interview, but he was so appreciative and lovely. Honestly one of the most genuine artists I have ever had the pleasure of working with.


Arlene’s Grocery: Review”

October 29, 2010

with Athena Reich and Josh Zuckerman

Arlene’s Grocery, New York, NY

By Jenn E. and Robin Brass

(Jenn E.)

It was my fourth time actually seeing Ariel perform.  Holding back any excitement I had became very difficult—the past three times I had seen Ariel sing live I came out believing more in music than I had before—I expected the same result.

I wasn’t so sure he could ever top himself again, and again … and again.

I was wrong.

Arlene’s Grocery (Friday, October 29, 2010).

The beautiful, amazing Athena Reich took the stage first (powerful vocals, amazing on piano, brilliant lyrics), followed by the ever-so-rocking Josh Zuckerman who, despite having a band on stage, made it all his own.

The moment that Ariel took the stage (beginning with “Waiting for the Man”) – time seemed to stop.  I sat right next to the stage and watched (and sang) – but became hopelessly, deliriously, mesmerized.

How does he manage to take someone from being socially talkative and mingling around the room—into in her own world, forgetting, becoming the music (each and every time) … it is stunning.  His performances continue to provide a powerful aphrodisiac—in simple terms—he is euphoric.

His ability to work the microphone, to rip through chords on his guitar while delivering spot- on, gorgeous vocals and lyrics … it’s enough to drive any music loving fanatic insanely, joyously crazy (during one of his songs he took off his jacket—and threw it over, my immediate mindset went into “groupie” mode—I wanted to jump up and down, he had me wrapped around his finger—it was no longer Arlene’s Grocery—it was, quite simply, Ariel’s World.)

“Lucille” this time around was specifically fantastic…and knowing the words, having been a fan of the song since the beginning, he gave it a new meaning in that one performance. Although the crowd was mellow—I could not contain what his music was meaning to me on that night. It was becoming more. It was a brilliant performance and being so up close—seeing the passion on his face and how much he was into the melodies and the lyrics— THAT is music. THAT is talent.

His Mama had come up from Miami and was present at the show (her first time seeing him perform in years) – and even in watching her, so proud of him (finding comfort and pride in his delivery of “Mi Corazon”, a song written for her) – it was such an amazing experience to be a part of.

Even in a quaint little venue in East Manhattan—to me, it became Madison Square Garden—witnessing someone take their talent and share it—the way he GENIUNELY shares it—and to feel compelled to just sit, stare, enjoy, and rebirth my own feelings of what music really should be—Ariel brings it everywhere, EVERYTIME. He is a true rock star.

In the four times I’ve seen him perform he has kicked it up a notch—each time he has grown, he has put something different into it—he has surprised me .

He has mesmerized.

Ariel—you are amazing. Each time I see you— you move me—you truly have my musical heart.

Arlene’s Grocery—I will never forget it.

(Robin Brass)

I attended Ariel’s show at Arlene’s Grocery this past Friday night (also supported by the equally talented Athena Reich & Josh Zuckerman). Last time I saw Ariel & the Hired guns was a year ago in a small bar in Brooklyn. And though of course that gig was great it was more ‘coffee house’ than rock n roll. But given a larger venue, larger stage with proper lighting & sound system and this show was alive! Playing a large portion of songs off “All these Brilliant Things” (including my personal favorite “Jameson & cocaine”) plus “Pretty in Pink”, “Lucille” & and the most recent “People who died” (which you know makes Jim Carroll smile from Heaven). All Logo TV video darlings.
Can you pin point Ariel’s music to one genre? I don’t think so, there is so much influence from all the music that influenced him..rock, punk, salsa..
A little Bowie, a little Iggy, a little Hector Levoe and maybe a smidgen of Liza lol
But yea yea yea..yada yada… we all listen to his music, we all love it and think he’s a tremendous talent. But let’s talk about the man-He shines. When he’s performing, when he’s just talking to you or walking down the street.  The man just shines. What I think I admire most about Ariel besides being a talented musician & song writer is how he balances the things he loves-his music and his other passion-his family. As much pride as he takes in his music career he also takes in his personal life, his Husband Andrew & his beautiful son Axl. In this day & age to find someone as loving and committed to his family, gay or straight is a rarity. AND running 3 successful restaurants. It all balances, like fung shui or ying/yang or something. I’m sure it’s not easy but he makes it all work.
So I think a measure of success is not always how popular you are or how much money you’re worth, though those are always nice but how rich you are in your personal life. So that makes Ariel as rich as a Paris Hilton (and he’s way prettier than her).
OH and his hair….looked fabulous!

Love RAINN on ME (Sunday, May 15, 2011)

Rose Spotts

Baby, You Could Never Look Me In the Eye…It has been more than fifteen maybe even twenty years since I sang anything for real like w/ a band, infront of people, that sort of thing. For a few months Ariel Aparicio and I had been toying back and forthwith the idea of covering PJ Harvey’s song Legs. Finally w/ the upcoming Love RAINN On Me benefitconcert we decided it would be a great time to do it. I had myself so psyched that I started practicing onmy own right away. We decided to cover that song as well as duet w/ Stevie Nicks’ song Stop Draggin’My Heart Around, remember that one? The one with Tom Petty? Yeah, guess who got to sing Tom’sparts? That’s right, me. Ariel was Stevie and quite a lovely Stevie at that. He and his band made me feellike I knew what I was doing (which in all honesty, I can’t believe I even seemed like I did) and I was verycomfortable rehearsing with them. I was so comfortable with them that I wasn’t even overly nervouswhen the big night came and I got to go up and sing w/ them onstage. It was so much fun and it felt sogood up there. Ariel mad it fun because he really didn’t make me feel like I had no talent or I’d neverdone this (after twenty years, well you might as well not have ever sung in your life). He made me feelso comfortable up there that I want to do it some more. Maybe I can find some voice lessons somewhere and make it so I am actually fun to listen to as well. It was so much fun and the highlight of mynight at the benefit. Afterward a few people told me that Stop Draggin’ was the best song of the night. Idon’t know if that is true or not, but for me it was definitely one of the best things I had the opportunityto do in a long time, thanks to Ariel.

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