Jarvis Cocker:: The Showbox, Seattle, WA 4/30/07 (Live Review)
“Hello, I’m Jarvis,” mutters the bespectacled beanpole ambling onstage, as the opening chords of “Fat Children” blast across The Showbox. A sea of devotees swoons in his presence before he’s even sung the first lyric, and when we does, swooping his hands and leaping off of monitors, you know you’re in the presence of greatness.
This night ushered in Jarvis’ first visit to Seattle. And the venue screamed in joy when Mr. Cocker said how much he liked Seattle because it reminded him of home. Once the barrage of “Fat Children” signals its exit with one last limp-wristed dance move, Jarvis & co (including former Pulp bassist Steve Mackey) launch into “Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time”, and at this point, people are openly weeping. Most of Jarvis, the brand new eponymous solo record, is a mid-tempo, highbrow lounge act reminiscent of his hero Serge Gainsbourg, and last night reflected that: slow jams like “Tonight” and “Disney Time” shimmer while Jarvis struts the stage, whipping his hips around like the oldest teenager of all time, but it’s the completely magnificent “Big Julie” that steals the show, with its tale of a teenage girls finding solace in nothing but her favorite song played on a shitty radio–for all of his ups and downs, success and failures, you could tell that behind those foggy glasses, Jarvis can still feel Big Julie’s pain and alienation, which is what makes him such a credible, and ultimately sympathetic, performer.
Pulp were the best pop band of the ’90s, certainly the best act Britpop had to offer, and from the looks of it, Jarvis will continue to relentlessly squeeze every last ounce of fandom from us in the coming years, until we’re nothing but shriveled, bleary-eyed husks, contently humming his tunes over and over again. Amazing.