THE crowd at Hyde Park on Sunday 3rd July was blessed with the kind of warm weather that had eluded Glastonbury-goers just a week earlier; however they did have something in common with the Worthy Farm revelers, in that they had the chance to see one of the greatest bands from the Britpop era, reformed in all their glory.
Jarvis Cocker’s spindly frame threw himself around the stage, striking poses that would make Mick Jagger blush, with his pencil thin legs casting shadows against the illuminated backdrop that displayed the band’s onomatopoeic moniker in dazzling lights.
The Wireless Festival had three tents that hosted various acts throughout the day, which all seemed to acquit itself, yet were mere appetizers to the main event. Kiwi quintet, The Naked and Famous, provided the perfect synth-drenched sound of the summer in their melodic eletcro-pop anthems, yet their audience seemed to be conserving their energies for pogo-ing along to the headliners later in the day. Grace Jones was as impressive as ever, in the sonic boom of her vocal lines, her outlandish stage costumes and the fact that she bounces around on stage like a young elk whereas most women her age struggle to run for a bus.
Math-rock darlings, Foals, provided a welcome antidote to the yelps and squeals of the The Hives, the Scandinavian rock band of the Noughties, who seem to know more dirty jokes than they do guitar chords. As Foals’ innovative and intelligent set drew to a close, revelers began to make their way over to the main stage, in time to claim a decent spot to watch Pulp perform together for the first time in 15 years.
Opening with the fitting ‘Do You Remember The First Time?’, it was clear that the band’s idiosyncratic front-man had lost none of his kooky style or balled up energy. Jarvis Cocker’s spindly frame threw himself around the stage, striking poses that would make Mick Jagger blush, with his pencil thin legs casting shadows against the illuminated backdrop that displayed the band’s onomatopoeic moniker in dazzling lights. ‘Disco 2000’’s crunching power chords cut through the hot summer air, the crowd exploded in a jubilant celebration of teenage lust and unrequited love, all punctuated with Cocker’s trademark irony and warped poetic stylings.
The opening line in the hedonistic anti-anthem ‘Sorted For E’s and Whizz’ was never more fitting as the crowd chanted back, “Oh is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel, or just 20,000 people standing field?” With his thick, Sheffield accent and razor-sharp wit, Cocker came across as dry and self-deprecating as he ever was in the band’s Britpop heyday, as strapped on a guitar and dedicated ‘Babies’, to his mother who was somewhere in the audience, which was, “Somewhat inappropriate, if you listen to the lyrics…”
The band were incredibly tight, betraying no evidence of the extended hiatus of playing together; Cocker’s kitchen-sink poetry welds perfectly to the melody infused pop rock of the more accessible tunes, where as the more alternative numbers such as the sleazy dirge of ‘This Is Hardcore’ provided a welcome counterpoint that shone a light on Pulp’s darker, edgier side.
Saving the best loved until last, Cocker introduced the era-defining anthem ‘Common People’ by poking fun at the ostentatious opulence of nearby luxurious housing development One Hyde Park, stating that, “We are in their back garden, creating a bit of a noise!” For a band that have shown no promises of continuing their brief-lived reunion, this truly was a fitting elegy; one thing is for sure though, whatever the future may hold for
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