Pulp - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Pulp - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

There are about 12,000 people in Motorpoint Arena tonight, and its doubtful more than a third of them know much of Pulp's music dating from before 1993's excellent and aptly-named Intro compilation. Then again, what with this being Pulp's first gig on their home turf for a decade, Jarvis Cocker could probably spend an hour breaking wind into a microphone and still expect a hero's welcome. And even if he did just fart into a mic, you know he'd make it look really cool.

After a very long, mood-setting intro, the band (now resembling a troupe of supply teachers collectively working through their mid-life crises by forming a band and getting really, unexpectly successful in a plotline Richard Curtis just dreamed up) are revealed behind some netting. They launch into the only song that makes sense right now, 'Do You Remember the First Time'. It's instantly, joltingly fantastic, Jarvis owning the vast stage with ease. Thus begins phase one of the gig: play some crowd-pleasers early on.

So we get 'Monday Morning', 'Underwear', and a gorgeous rendering of 'A Little Soul'. 'Disco 2000' is the first track to send us properly mental and segues nicely (via a typically wayward and brilliant Cocker monologue) into 'Sorted for Es & Wizz' and then a thrilling, nervy 'I Spy'. Phase one winningly completed, Jarvis begins to tell us about the early days of the band, how lack of funds meant they decorated stages with loo roll. On cue, a crate of the stuff is brought onto the stage and passed out to the crowd who, of course, chuck it everywhere.

Where's this going? Jarvis welcomes his sister Saskia and a mate into the stage and launches into 'My Lighthouse', the band's first single all the way back in 1983. For serious Pulp lovers, this is heaven itself. What could top that? Well, how about 'Little Girl (with Blue Eyes)' and 'Countdown', both sounding punchier than their recorded versions. As wonderful as all this is, you can sense sections of the crowd are waiting for another hit, so the band give us 'Babies', undoubtedly one of the greatest songs ever written. Cocker isn't quite done with the fan-pleasing yet, however, and so also we get a tender rendition of b-side 'Like a Friend'.

Later on, while stuck somewhere in the longest queue for a gents' toilet the world has ever known, I will overhear some grizzled indie bore tell his mate he thought the gig was 'self-indulgent'. What a prick. He must have been at the bar when phase three commenced and our jaws repeatedly dropped as the band blasted through 'Help the Aged', 'Party Hard', 'This is Hardcore', 'Sunrise', 'Bar Italia' and, inevitably, 'Common People', each song worked and reworked in the way that only a committed, genuinely alive band can manage, each one so thrillingly powerful that, no matter how many times you've heard them, everything hits you anew - Jarvis' wit and pathos, the crunchy glam riffs, the spacey-kitsch keyboard, the menace, darkness and beauty.

As dry ice billows and the band take their leave, you think there's no way they can follow that. But they do; they bounce back on and play us 'Sheffield: Sex City', all eight-odd, gloriously bonkers, hallucinatory minutes of it. Candida even does her monotone soliloquy about fucking at the start. Following this, Richard Hawley joins the band for a strum through 'Fool to Cry', which has never been played live before but sounds like a lost single. Then we get three more blasts of deathless guitar-pop genius - 'Razzmatazz', 'Mis-shapes' and the soaring 'Something Changed' - and a torrent of glitter, and they are gone. This may have been their last ever gig. Fuck knows why. This is a live band at their peak. We need them.

Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Ace review! Hadn't heard 'Sheffield: Sex City' before so had a listen on YouTube........truly awesome stuff! Annoying at gigs when you're really loving it and you hear someone moaning about 'self indulgence' and such, when I was at The Fall the...

Ace review! Hadn't heard 'Sheffield: Sex City' before so had a listen on YouTube........truly awesome stuff! Annoying at gigs when you're really loving it and you hear someone moaning about 'self indulgence' and such, when I was at The Fall the support band, Evil Blizzard, were really great but someone within ear shot was moaning about 'gimmicks' and, ironically for a Fall gig, 'repitition'................

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Sorry, 'repetition'........

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
Pulp - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Pulp - Different Class
  • 07/09/2018
  • By Kevin Orton
Pulp - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Pulp - After You
  • 01/08/2013
  • By Rich Morris
Pulp - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Pulp - Freaks
  • 02/18/2012
  • By Aidan Rylatt
Pulp - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Pulp - Separations
  • 02/16/2012
  • By Lawrence Poole
Pulp - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Pulp - It
  • 02/10/2012
  • By Rich Morris