Hindsight is Way More Fun

Happy May Day. They finally removed the blood-soaked rag from the sidewalk outside my office building!

Also, I'm thinking of leaving work early because of the protest. This is my one night at home this week and I really don't want to spend several hours on the bus trying to get there or hang out downtown until 7:00 waiting for the worker's protest to clear. I'm glad they have the right to protest. But I really want to go home and chill tonight.

But what I really want to talk about is this: Remember that scene in Trainspotting where Rents and Sick Boy are discussing solo careers? Sick Boy maintains the fact that even a really talented musician who was once great with a band, will never be as good on his own. Examples include Morrissey, Frank Black, Lou Reed and now, Jarvis Cocker.

In 1996, I saw Pulp play the tiny 9:30 Club in DC. This was a big deal because that year, Pulp were HUGE in England. They were selling out Wembley Stadium, yet here they were in a small 300-capacity club in the US. Sure, the venue was sold out, but they were still relatively unknown. This was before William Shatner brought “Common People” to light.

At this tiny club, Javis brought it. He was playing to the cheap seats, even in a venue that had no cheap seats. Apart from being sweating distance from Joe Strummer in 1999, it may have been the greatest performance in my show-going history.

Last night I saw the same man, 11 years later, play the Showbox. The Showbox is a superior Seattle concert venue. Lots of seats in the bar with good views and a great sound system. Jarvis was still an energetic performer, but and I'm sure this is something that every ex-frontman turned solo act must struggle with, he played NO PULP SONGS. At the moment, he has one solo record out. It's alright. It's no Pulp record. He played the entire thing. When he and his band left the stage to prepare for the encore, he had no album tracks left. I thought for sure he would play a Pulp song. Instead, he played the HIDDEN album track. Right. Forgot about that. But now, surely, he would play a Pulp song. ANY Pulp song. Doesn't have to be “Common People”. In fact, I'd prefer it wasn't. If you don't want to do anything from “This Is Hardcore”, I'll take a song from that silly hippie record, “We Love Life”.

But nay. Out of solo songs, he played “Purple Haze”. It was a tribute to being in Seattle. It sounded great. Better than most of the set even. But damnit, I wanted to hear a Pulp song. For god's sake, he WROTE all of those songs. He should have the rights to them. Strummer played several of his tracks off of London Calling when on tour with the Mescaleros. I suppose Jarvis is trying to distance himself from all that. I wouldn't have minded if I didn't find his solo record so mediocre. So Sub-Pulp. I was excited to see Jarvis on stage. He is, in many ways, a totem for me. But last night was kind of a bummer. Perhaps I am a joyless curmudgeon. But I really wanted to hear a goddamned Pulp song.

1 Comment

  1. Interesting piece, you may like my related musings on Jarvis Cocker, Pulp etc – http://bit.ly/SpiralScratchPulp

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s