What can you say about Jarvis? Tall, glasses, not really a hero type, lanky, disjointed and theatrical. All of this makes the man what he is and makes pulp a superb band to see live. I first saw pulp in the late eighties, supporting someone, who shall remain completely forgotten, at (i think it was) the leadmill (but even that has been lost in the depths of time,together with the ticket stub). Anyway, from what i can remember, they weren’t very memorable. Home town band plays hometown gig type thing.
These days pulp are a completely different species to what they once were. From the very first moment they appeared on the stage, to the last breath of delight from the crowd at the end pulp were beautiful, inspiring and above all memorable.
The band appeared and started with “weeds”, to the backdrop of a time lapse movie of weeds growing (this doesn’t sound as visually good as it is). This was followed by “the night that minnie timperley died” and then “lonely boy” (a revamped version of the b-side). Jarvis’s stage presence and showmanship won a packed to capacity venue over immediately. Remembering trips to nottingham past, he name checked a few local landmarks and dredged up some local myths (two girls for each boy), always keeping the crowd laughing and often leading into the next song as with the two birds for every bloke thing which led seamlessly to (via the comment “the only birds i ever saw were”) “the birds in your garden”.
Pulp burned through the tracks. “bad cover version” (spectacular),”this is hardcore”,”monday morning”, “f.e.e.l.i.n.g. C.a.l.l.e.d. L.o.v.e” and “the trees”, amongst others, and then they finished with “sunrise” (if you’ve never heard this track live then go and see), leaving the crowd yelling for more.
They returned, rejuvenated, for “sorted for e’s & wizz” and made the night by playing “babies” (which was unfortunately spoilt by the girl in behind screaming the words to what was apparently the only song she knew (don’t give up the day job)). The gig was ended with “(do you know, i can’t remember)” and pulp left the stage, closely followed by jarvis, shortly after saying that this was the first night of the tour and he hoped we’d enjoyed it. I’ll say yes to that.
If you’re a pulp fan go and see them as soon as you can because you’ll love this show. The new songs sit together with the old friends and you soon forget they’re not playing a “best of” set. If you’re not a fan, you’ll still go home thinking “wow!”.
Nothing to do with pulp, just a gripe about this, historically excellent, venue. Don’t expect to get a drink too quickly. Three bar staff and one lager pump per bar leads to major crowds waiting to be served, so at least a twenty minute wait is to be expected. And to add to the insult, we then have to drink from half pint glasses (because “we’ve run out of pint glasses”. The words piss up, couldn’t, in, organise and brewery spring to mind). Comedy moment – sixteen halves of lager being passed back through a crowd five deep to the eight thirsty people, waiting impatiently at the back (ready to juggle two glasses each and a lighted fag, presumably).
If you want to see a great band, go and see pulp! If you want to have a drink, go to a pub!