Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jarvis Cocker - 12 June 2009, Glasgow ABC

I last saw JC (not Jesus but he has the same initials) when Pulp played the SECC on the This Is Hardcore tour. (They were excellent, BTW.) What's changed, and what hasn't?

Well, for a start there were no Pulp numbers at all on Friday. Indeed, there were only four songs from his first solo album, with everything else (as far as I could tell - I don't own it yet) coming from Further Complications, his new album. His backing band were self-effacing to the point of anonymity, though their playing was excellent. Jarvis himeslf came on wearing a pale suit and a tie, and sporting the glasses he wears nowadays. (He has a neat trick he did a few times, where he pushes them on top of his head then brings then down onto his nose with a flick of the head and no hands. It was funny the first time but palled a little on repetition.) A few numbers into the set, off came the jacket and tie: his shirt became soaked with sweat but JC doesn't really do costume changes, so even when he came back for his encores he remained obstinately soggy. It's certainly a different image from when he was with Pulp, when he resembled nothing so much as Steerpike on speed. Nowadays, when he gyrates in his characteristic way he looks like a guy in a suit striking odd poses rather than a daddy-long-legs with a microphone.

I can't remember whether he used a radio mike with Pulp, but on this tour it was good old-fashioned cabling (and a patient roadie who kept having to come on and untangle it from the mike stand). JC consumed various foodstuffs in stage, passing the leftovers to the audience: a packet of jelly babies ("You've got to share them, all right?") whose attempts at realism occasioned a comparison with jelly babies of yore ("like Easter Island figures") and a glass of wine. In a more intimate venue than the SECC he could, and did, engage much more with his audience, who were soon eating more than just jelly babies out of his hands. We even learned something: in his introduction to You're In My Eyes Jarvis informed us that the ABC's mirror ball (which was directly above my head and which he used for the song) was the largest in Britain. I can believe it: it's enormous. (The Alabama 3 used it too.)

So what did he sing? After an instrumental introduction he launched into Angela, Further Complications, Big Julie Rules The World, Leftovers, Slush, I Never Said I Was Deep, Homewrecker, Caucasian Blues, Black Magic. Then he went off, reappearing shortly to do either a load of enocres or part two of his set: Fat Children, Big Stuff, Hold Still, Don't Let Him Waste Your Time, You're In My Eyes. Not a long set, then, but perfectly formed. I must confess I half expected an encore of Common People or Disco 2000, but Jarvis has moved on, and perhaps that's just as well. When I get round to reviewing the Morrissey gig at Barrowlands, you'll see that he still does the odd Smiths number: but then Jarvis is poles apart form Morrissey.

A gig to remember, then. Not perhaps one to to pass on to your reverential grandchildren, but solid stuff nonetheless.


At 18 June, 2009 20:41, Blogger naldo said...

Jarvis i love for (among many groovy things) his comment at Connect 2007: "Johnny Cash said he'd be the man in black til the whole world is pure, i'm the man in brown cos the world is shit."

Morrissey i hate cos he goose stepped and smiled broadly as he sang National Front Disco and a mob of union jack bootboys kicked the shit out of me and 3 mates at Motherwell Civic Centre about 15 years ago. Really. I believe him to be the racist his many "enigmatic" utterances have suggested and i used to love the Smiths.

At 22 June, 2009 19:26, Blogger Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Well, you've read my review of his Nottingham gig on this tour so you know how I feel about the Jarve meister. Of course I have (very) fond memories of his Pulp days, but unlike some artistes he's kept moving on. He doesn't obstinately refuse to do anything from Pulp but he doesn't need to and frankly I can respect him for that.


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