Pulp at The Warfield, April 17 2012

This is the reason I finally managed to post this the other day.

So Pulp have renuited for a tour, and were doing some shows at Coachella. Before that, they were doing a couple in San Francisco and thereabouts, which sold out in about 10 minutes. Cassie saw this, and posted on Facebook about wishing she could get a ticket. Magically, a family friend popped up and said he could get us tickets! We’d have to pay, and they’d be in the pit rather than in the gods, as it were, but it would be awesome to see them again.

I’ve seen Pulp a couple of times. The first time was during the tour they did for His ‘n’ Hers, at the Brixton Academy in about 1994. They were supported by Stereolab, and it was great to see them as well, even though there was a douche in front of us yelling at the “fat bird” to get off stage – during Super Electric, of all things! Ignorant deaf pig.

The next time was less fun. I was unemployed, or temping or something. Pulp was huge, Different Class was out. The gig was at Wembley Arena in 1995. Horrible venue, way too big. Support was from Denim (ah, good old/poor old Denim) and feckin’ Edwyn Collins who had a song out then. I did not have a good time.

This time was way better. Cassie and I met up with friends at the Gold Dust Lounge in San Francisco’s “charming” Union Square/Tenderloin area. The Warfield is square in the Tenderloin, so waiting in the will-call line was interesting.

We didn’t catch the support act, soz.

The gig itself was a showcase, given the lack of new material. This meant they could pick out classics and crowd-pleasers, as well as album tracks, and other more personal favourites. They started off by going straight into Do You Remember the First Time?, which is a shame because it’s my favourite and I was looking forward to being excited about it. Great start though. I never liked Something Changed. At the time it came out, I was not in a happy place. Single and disappointed, and this song seemed to taunt me. But then seeing it performed, with my arms around my wife, changed my mind a little. Yep.

Disco 2000. This came out a few years before 2000, and is about remebering how at school in the late 70’s and early 80’s you would promise your friends you’d keep in touch. It’s now 12 years after the year mentioned in the song, and it’s still a corker, although a bit overplayed. I feel old.

Between the songs, Jarvis did his usual banter. I’ve seen him solo live as well, and he likes to keep the fun going. He reminded the crowd of the last time Pulp played in San Francisco, and there were a fair few people in the crowd that were there.

The American version of Sorted for E’s & Wizz is Fixed up for X and Meth. Only joking, although the rave scene was very different in the US. No home counties and orbital motorways here. You were probably in the middle of a desert – oh, what do I know.

Jarvis went to town on Acrylic Afternoons, really going for the kitchen sink drama posturing, and pretending to drink tea, before leaping off a monitor and squealing for the choruses. Babies was always a crowd-pleaser. The opening notes instantly recognisable. Lots of grooving going on.

I hadn’t heard Sunrise before, because it was off the last album We Love Life, from 2001. I might track that down, if that song is anything to go by. Reminiscent of David’s Last Summer, with a nice little riff, eyes-closed chorus, and then a glorious drawn-out instrumental.

After the mandatory performance of Common People, they did a couple more before leaving the stage. They came out pretty quickly for an encore, which was the fitting Glory Days. This one sounds a lot (to me) like one of Jarvis’ solo numbers, Slush. A gentler groove, before the triumphant Mis-Shapes. This was preceded by a little speech about how more and more people are “coming out of the sidelines”, with veiled references to gay marriage, political activism and other recent movements. Good lad.

A great show. I’m so pleased I got to see them again, and in a quality venue like the Warfield – which is quite similar to Brixton Academy, thinking about it.Pulp Live

The full setlist for the show can be seen here, on Setlist.fm. (Cool website, I didn’t know it existed. A wiki for gig setlists.) Another review here from the Chronicle. Choice quote:

“They’re smarter than Oasis, less pretentious than Blur and wittier than Suede”