Seeing Jarvis Cocker makes you realize that almost all other bands are chumps. This is how it's done. This is a show. This is charisma. This is It. You can't take your eyes off him. My #1 show of 2007 was his show at Webster Hall (and I hate Webster Hall) and this one was better.
After five years of hibernation following the dissolution of Pulp, Jarvis reemerged in 2006 with his self-titled solo album which was a grower that I listened to more and more throughout 2007. Playing a couple dates following his performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Jarvis road-tested almost an album's worth of new songs, almost all of which were great. In particular set-opener "Complications" and his ode to the female orgasm, "Girls Like it Too" were particularly good. So was "Told You Twice," a song about the humilations of Personals Ads, but given an almost James Brown sort of hook. (In a Jarvis kind of way.) Having fully embraced his 40s and all it entails, Jarvis has found his muse (and sense of humor) once again and I think we're in for a classic album sometime in the near future.
We got most of Jarvis too, including the torchy "Big Julie," "Fat Children" and the showstopper "Black Magic" where he expended more energy than most bands do in a whole set. I don't know how he does it. We also got the cover of Master C & J's house music classic "Face It" that he worked up especially for the Pitchfork Fest (Chicago is the home of house music, if you didn't know) which actually sounded more like Pulp than anything in his solo career -- one wonders if "My Legendary Girlfriend" or "F.E.E.L.I.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E." weren't influenced by it. (You can download an MP3 of "Face It" from the Pitchfork fest here.)
Jarvis is also the master of of between-song banter and there are too many anecdotes to recount. But if you live in NYC you can hear for yourself. He plays Terminal 5 tonight. Tickets are still available. Go. Go. Go.
SETLIST: Complications | Caucasian Blues | Tonight | Girls Like it Too | Big Julie | I Will Kill Again | Angela | Told You Twice | Big Stuff | Black Magic ENCORE 1: Fat Children | Just a Fucking Song | Cunts are Still Running the World | ENCORE 2: Don't Let Him Waste Your Time | Face it
Some more pictures at my Flickr.