Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

The Warfield Theater, San Francisco

Yesterday, I flew down to San Francisco to see lately reunited Brit-pop gods Pulp for


The Best Show in Seattle Last Night Was Pulp in San Francisco


Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

The Warfield Theater, San Francisco

Yesterday, I flew down to San Francisco to see lately reunited Brit-pop gods Pulp for the first time--and I wasn't alone; it seems like maybe a good third of Seattle's pop scenesters must've made the trip, too. Among the Seattle people I knew or recognized were DJs of indie dance nights, bartenders from the Cha Cha, the proprietor of Pony, and even rockin' King County Executive Dow Constantine. (Pulp didn't play their tune about rockin' politicians, "Cocaine Socialism," but they did play its straight version, "Glory Days.") The concert more than justified the journey: it was incredible. Down on the main floor, you could easily watch the show less than a handful of people back from the stage. If you're a Pulp fan, let alone one who never expected to get to see them in your lifetime, this was unbelievably awesome. Chills up spine, grinning from ear-to-ear, pogo-ing and singing along awesome. I will now attempt to recollect some specifics.

They warmed up the crowd with banter--"make some noise", etc--scrawled across a scrim in green laser text. Then they read the liner note manifesto of Different Class--the "We don't want no trouble, we just want the right to be different. That's all." one, not the "NB. Please do not read the lyrics whilst listening to the recording"--through a vocoder. Then they took the stage, lifted the scrim, and launched into "Do You Remember the First Time?" which for myself and I'm sure for a lot of fans in the house, last night's concert was. Jarvis Cocker was as lanky, lithe, bespectacled, and sexy as ever, and he spent much of the set dancing and writhing and pantomiming at the foot of the stage. For the "come and lie down on the settee" line in "Acrylic Afternoons," he laid back on one of the monitors; at the end of "Pencil Skirt" he turned his back to the audience and did that fake making out thing where you wrap your hands around yourself so they look like someone else's; for "This is Hardcore" he did a sort of scarecrow dance with the microphone dangling suggestively between his legs (and causing a brief shot of feedback).

Cocker introduced "O.U (Gone, Gone)" with an apology that they hadn't played it in a while (it sounded ace). He announced "Disco 2000" by saying "in '95 we wrote a song about the year 2000, because it seemed like the future, but now it's 2012 and we still take cable cars and buses." He read some poetry by Lawrence Ferlinghetti picked up earlier at the City Lights bookstore. Of "Common People," he said, "sometimes you can be attracted to people whose ideas you don't agree with," noting that such friction can even make things hotter. He noted that they'd not gotten around to playing "Glory Days" yet since getting back together last May, and that second encore "My Lighthouse" was, according to their Wikipedia page, released 29 years ago yesterday (people always forget Pulp are such an older band than "Common People"). He shared drinks with the audience, a bottle of beer from his lips to someone in the crowd who he made promise to share it, then a glass of champagne.

I know the song isn't really about solidarity, but god damn if a whole crowd jumping up and down and shouting along to "Common People" doesn't feel pretty rallying. (Other jump- and sing-alongs included, "Mis-Shapes," "Babies," and "Like a Friend.") Last night was one of those concerts I never expected to happen, and cliche as it sounds to say, it couldn't have been more of a dream come true.

(Oh, one sour note before we're done here: Ariel Pink is the FUCKING WORST. Like Spinal Tap's "jazz phase," like an unfunny Portlandia sketch, like Ween for fucking idiot hipsters. There isn't a fire hot and slow enough for him to die in. That is all.)

Set list:

1. "Do You Remember the First Time?"

2. "O.U. (Gone, Gone)"

3. "Razzmatazz"

4. "Something Changed"

5. "Disco 2000"

6. "Sorted for E's & Wizz"

7. "Acrylic Afternoons"

8. "Pencil Skirt"

9. "Like a Friend"

10. "Babies"

11. "Underwear"

12. "This Is Hardcore"

13. "Sunrise"

14. "Bar Italia"

15. "Common People"


16. "Glory Days"

17. "Party Hard"

18. "Mis-Shapes"

Encore 2:

19." My Lighthouse "

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