Pulp at Finsbury Park
As suspenseful sci-fi music plays, two screens either side of the stage at Finsbury Park display Star Wars-style text, which announces that tonight’s performance by Pulp is an encore and encourages the audience to make some noise. It’s a fun and quirky way to start the show, creating a pantomime vibe that matches the camp charm of Jarvis Cocker. The singer emerges from the depths of the stage in a green velvet suit, against a large backdrop of the moon.
This gig is a treat for Pulp fans, as they play almost all the songs one would want to hear. Cocker tells us that without an audience, playing is just rehearsing, and he gets everyone to clap to the beat at the start of Disco 2000. It’s hard to describe the joy of jumping and singing along to this one, especially as streams of orange string explode into the crowd and the music starts to emphasise this idea of us collectively creating magic. It’s one of Pulp’s most popular tracks, and having it early on energises the crowd and gives them all a chance to get into it. Cocker is quietly confident, but also self-deprecating and humorous. He jokes with the audience, throwing chocolate and grapes into the crowd and trying (and failing) to catch a grape in his mouth.
Some of the highlights of the night include the touching acoustic love song, Something Changed. Hearing it live brings out its understated beauty and makes listeners appreciate it even more. Pink Glove is a lesser-known offering, but Cocker makes it memorable with his ironic “aha-ha-has”. Sorted for Es and Wizz is backed with trippy rainbow strobe lights and a hazy purple light, with the orchestra really playing up the druggy vibe. Cocker is featured reclining on a leather armchair for This Is Hardcore, with sexy red and orange lights creating a stringy, showgirl silhouette that illuminates the image of a chandelier to really hone in on the old-school porn aesthetic. Accompanied by 90s-style pop art and a cascade of red confetti, Babies is simply delightful to be a part of. Like a Friend is played with such soft, heartfelt tenderness, and is delightfully contrasted with the angrier, uptempo ending.
The only flaw of this great night is the encore, especially as the concept of encore was already hyped up so much. The performance ends on such a high note with Common People, and it feels like the perfect finale, but the energy dips when Jarvis comes back on-stage and the show loses some of its momentum. Final song Razzmatazz is a great one, and Cocker performs it well, but it feels like an unnecessary addition to an otherwise euphoric night.
Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett
For further information and future events visit Pulp’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Disco 2000 here: