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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Seattle Sex City

posted by on January 31 at 12:07 PM


Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has announced North American dates (via Pitchfork) and—miraculously!—they include Seattle:

04-23 New York, NY - Webster Hall
04-27 Indio, CA - Empire Polo Field (Coachella)
04-28 San Francisco, CA - Fillmore
04-30 Seattle, WA - Showbox
05-01 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore

I never got to see Pulp live—my buddy Sam did, and it sounds like it was a near religious experience—and according to everything I’ve found on the internet it looks like they never played Seattle. I remember seeing a poster for some kind of Pulp date here around 1996, but maybe it was just some DJ appearance or something—does anybody know what I’m talking about or is it just my fever acting up?

Despite never seeing the band, I was weirdly, prematurely into them in high school thanks to the mentoring of one Adam P Baldwin (also responsible for my early interest in Jawbreaker). Pulp were a total anomaly in my adolescent CD collection—literate, witty, sexually charged yet filled with ennui and bathos and other words I didn’t understand at the time—surrounded by the latest offerings from Green Day, Rancid, Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, etc, etc. And that’s probably as it should be; Pulp were genius for their ability to be totally anomalous and yet still manage some success amongst the more easily digestible brit-pop of the time. I would listen to Different Class while walking home from school, and while I didn’t understand their very specific British class consciousness, I could relate to their righteous outsider posture and imagine myself a “mis-shape” among my athletic suburban peers. Of course, being a chubby, awkward teen I couldn’t infiltrate the privileged class the way Cocker’s seemingly autobiographical characters did—through charm and sex appeal—but I could appreciate his deft skewering of them all the same.

I lost interest in Pulp for a time—Cocker began making much darker work with This is Hardcore, and I couldn’t at all relate to his dismantling of the very characters he’d championed only an album before, the deflating of the sexual provocateur. Years later, I’ve developed a fondness for almost all of Pulp’s enormous catalog and (I think) a better understanding of Cocker’s songwriting. I’ve yet to fully digest his solo debut due to the piling up of too many records over the past year, but the tracks I’ve heard from it are a fine continuation of Cocker’s work with Pulp, thanks in part to the appearance of former bandmates Richard Hawley and Steve Mackey.

I was never much one for pop idols, but Cocker was always an example of how best to avenge oneself against life’s mediocrity—through style, learning, dancing, sexuality, and class war. I expect him to still be phenomenal live, even if “Babies” and “Like a Friend” aren’t on the setlist.

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I was fortunate enough to see Pulp play Wembley Arena at the height of "Common People"-mania, and I can assure you, Jarvis is a bewitching live performer.

Posted by Kurt B. Reighley | January 31, 2007 12:23 PM

I can't wait, his solo album is fantastic!

Posted by Nick | January 31, 2007 12:42 PM

I never had the chance to catch Pulp either. I'm excited.

Posted by Steve | January 31, 2007 1:11 PM

Yeah, I saw them in the middle of a forest in England and it was magical.
Marcus once told me he tried to organize a Pulp tribute night circa This Is Hardcore at Moe's, maybe that is what you saw a poster for.
He hasn't been playing any Pulp songs on his tour thus far, just the album tracks and random/intriguing covers, but since he has never ever been to our corner of the world, who knows?

Posted by sam | January 31, 2007 2:22 PM

I am positive they never played Seattle. It is hard to believe we will be blessed with a live date as Pulp always seemed to play the East Coast whenever they made it to the States. I would also love to hear Pulp songs but I don't think we'll get any.

Posted by blooberry | January 31, 2007 2:35 PM

okay i really think that jonah from schoolyard heroes looks like jarvis cocker's overly jewish son.

also: the jarvis cocker songs on the leonard cohen dvd, i'm your man, are so so good.

Posted by alithea | January 31, 2007 3:18 PM


That is exactly what my relationship was like with Pulp in high school. I would be taking the bus home and listening to "Mis-Shapes" with the lyrics

"They think they've got us beat, but revenge is going to be so sweet.
We're making a move, we're making it now, we're coming out of the side-lines.
Just put your hands up - it's a raid yeah:
We want your homes, we want your lives,
we want the things you won't allow us.
We won't use guns, we won't use bombs
We'll use the one thing we've got more of - that's our minds. "

To me, it was empowering. I related to it as a misunderstood teenage outcast who had the brains, and that I was going to have revenge someday, or something like that.

Posted by Domenica | January 31, 2007 4:15 PM

I was just mentioning to someone that I never go to shows anymore. Now this! I'll be going for sure. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Posted by Biggie J | January 31, 2007 4:46 PM

Sam: What city did you see them play on the Trees tour? I happened to be at the Thetford show (outside of Cambridge) and it was INCREDIBLE! I also had the good fortune of seeing them play Minneapolis in the early 90s. Good times.

I gasped when I saw this post. I am so there.

Posted by BFDS | January 31, 2007 5:46 PM

Jarvis. Soon.


Posted by Fawkes | January 31, 2007 11:57 PM

**Sigh**. I saw them when I was fifteen, at the old DC 930 club. My best friend was British and she clued me in to a lot of good music. I remember screaming for them to play Babies and when they did I think I died of happiness. I remember Steve Mackey winking at me, and afterwards I bought a blue and red "I'm Common" baby tee, which doesn't fit anymore, but you better believe I still have it.

Sorry I missed the Trees tour. I was actaully in London for that time, by myself, and saw the poster, but couldn't figgure out how to get to a freaking forest.

Posted by KatieDay | February 1, 2007 10:01 AM

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