- Live Review
- 10 Jun 23
It was hit after pervy hit as Jarvis Cocker & Co. comprehensively did the business in Dublin 5
In the same week that the Full Monty crew make their televisual return, another venerable Sheffield institution are also on the comeback trail.
The third gig on their aptly-titled This Is What We Do For An Encore tour finds Pulp renewing acquaintances with their old mucker and fellow Steel City native, Richard Hawley, and The Orielles, a bunch of relatively young whippersnappers who being from Halifax have also travelled over on their Yorkshire passports.
Like the over-50s on tonight's bill, they're arch, charismatic and capable of writing songs that delve deep into the human condition whilst putting a smile on your face.
And also like Pulp whose Britpop success was far from overnight, The Orielles have been building things slowly over the course of four increasingly accomplished albums, the most recent of which, 2022's Tableau, is represented here by the woozily hypnotic 'Beam/s'. Indeed, if these were the 1990s I might go as far to describe it as 'shoegaze-y.'
That they do upbeat and funky as well is evident from 'Bobbi's Second World', which leads to the first outbreak of dancing in the pit. I'll definitely be down the front again when they make their headlining return to Dublin.
As elegant a songwriter and performer as he is, Richard Hawley suffers from not having a roof over his head.
The polite applause that greets the likes of 'Alone' and the swoonsome 'Tonight The Streets Are Ours' would probably be thunderous if he were performing them in, for example, Whelan's.
That said, my night is greatly enhanced by hearing 'Staring At The Sky's Edge', a psychobilly murder/suicide ballad – sample lyric: "Joseph was a good man though he killed his wife/ His hungry little children, he took their lives" – that Nick Cave would be proud to have penned.
Incidentally, while both come from Sheffield and look the spit of each other, Hawley and Alex Turner are not blood related.
Still in possession of all of his hair and most of his teeth and as whippet thin as he was when we first clapped eyes on him in the '80s, Jarvis Cocker makes his grand entrance silhouetted James Bond-style against a blood red backdrop, which is appropriate given that the opening song is 'I Spy'.
Sartorially it's more Austin Powers with the 59-year-old Pulp frontman resplendent in a purple crushed velvet jacket with matching flares and two inch heels that almost make him basketball player height.
If scientists detect seismic activity tonight in the Raheny area it's just the 10,000 people idiot dancing to the turbocharged run through of 'Disco 2000' that follows.
Unlike some of their contemporaries, Pulp's music has aged not one jot with 'Mis-Shapes' another early set highlight.
Jarvis is clearly on the verge of tears as he tells us that this tour is dedicated to fallen comrade Steve Mackey who passed away during the rehearsals for it. The rendition of 'Something Changed' it heralds can only be described as celestial.
Cocker throws a handful of Starbursts into the crowd and gets a large bar of Cadbury's Fruit & Nut in return, which is a more than decent trade. He cleverly uses it as a segue into 'Razzmatazz', getting its first live airing since 2012, which includes the immortal line: "Are you gonna go out, are you sitting at home eating boxes of Milk Tray?" Clearly tonight it's the former.
While it's Cocker that your eyes are always on, the rest of the band are faultless tonight with Belfast native Candida Doyle coolness personified on keys.
Switching into David Attenborough mode, Jarvis dedicates 'Weeds' to the red squirrels "or people identifying as red squirrels" that inhabit St. Anne's Park.
As well as swotting up on D5's wildlife, Jarvis has also been learning such handy Irish phrases as dia dhuit and go raibh maith agat. The Gaeilgeoir with me gives him 10/10 for enthusiasm and 2/10 for execution. We agree that it should be mandatory for all visiting rock stars to attempt the cúpla focail - not least for the comedic value.
Following a deliciously downbeat 'Sorted For Es & Wizz', a symphony of strings ushers in 'This Is Hardcore', another teenage wet dream of a song even though it was written when Cocker was well into his thirties.
Ever the romantic devil, he preludes 'Do You Remember The First Time' by telling us how he lost his virginity in a Sheffield park not dissimilar to St. Anne's.
The logical next song is 'Babies' which is a reminder of A. How overtly poppy and B. How downright pervy Pulp can be.
A rave-era companion piece to 'Sorted For Es & Wizz', 'Sunrise' features some tasty slide guitar from Richard Hawley who lest we forget was briefly a touring member of Pulp and remains one of Jarvis' besties.
An encore was never in doubt and starts with Cocker gently strumming the song he wrote for the Great Expectations soundtrack, 'Like A Friend'.
Having taken a well-earned breather, the rest of the band join him again for a rambunctious 'Underwear' and even more rambunctious 'Common People', which once again finds Hawley bolstering the guitar attack.
Before the band's arrival, the jumbotron screen informed us that this was Pulp's 525th gig. There can't have been many that were more joyous than tonight's.
- Live Review
- 11 Sep 23