Coachella Report 06/10 – I’ll Remember My First Time: Pulp

When the Coachella lineup released, and I saw Pulp on the list, it felt as though all language had vanished from existence, except for that single act, which stood out as the only namable thing in a blur of meaningless symbols and colors. Those Sheffield folk took the throne of my priority list, and unless you could revive Joe Strummer or John Lennon, or if you could convince Blur – my all-time favorite band – to come to the United States, then you couldn’t find any other act to draw me away from Pulp in a conflict – maybe Fiona Apple, maybe. And as high as I held my expectations, Pulp managed to surpass them and transform the Coachella Stage into something out of my most greatest, musical wishes. I was especially very happy to hear “F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.” after having spent much of the week prior to the festival praying to the Coachella gods for it to happen.

A very long time ago, when I was just a small boy, I selected a song – almost at random – on a jukebox. The song was Oasis’ “She’s Electric,” and I made a mental note of this event so that I might look into it when I was older – which I did, and which resulted in my exploration of Britpop when I was in high school. That was when I learned about Blur, Pulp, Suede, Spiritualized, and many more of the bands that would put an end to the nonsensical sludge I was listening to off the radio. My life improved by a great magnitude after that. And that is why it was so important that I watch Pulp; they were a big part of the soundtrack from my formation into a young man, the sounds that I used to develop my identity and even find guidance during my troubles. Whatever remedies that Britpop brought to England, they finally had made their way across the world, stopping for a visit in El Paso, Texas.

I confess that, while finishing high school, I wanted to wear thick glasses like Jarvis Cocker. I wanted to mimic him – as well as my other Britpop heroes – in many other ways, as well. (I thought I would be really cool and unique to display a British sense of fashion in a place that had no idea what it all was.) But that aside, seeing Jarvis perform in 2007, and then finally seeing Pulp, I have to say that he always proves to be even cooler than I can imagine. I may be a real fanatic, but I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that a big part of what made the Pulp performance so excellent was Jarvis’ antics and stage banter. It is just so fascinating to hear him talk, because he’s funny and intelligent. I feel like I can never guess what he’s about to say, because he’s always on an entirely different plane of existence. I mean: He threw grapes at the crowd!

Pulp’s performance is an example of why I always choose Coachella – why I have been choosing Coachella since 2005: I can almost always count on seeing my favorite Britpop bands (and other nostalgia acts). Last year, I got to see Suede perform one of the greatest performances that I have ever seen, and their only date in the United States was at Coachella. I thought it was insane how such an amazing act could sneak into the country like that. I’ve seen other acts like that at Coachella: Spiritualized, Massive Attack, Stereophonics, Elbow; and this year, there was Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, James, Arctic Monkeys, and Kaiser Chiefs. But especially for an act like Suede: I don’t think that many people were asking for Suede to get on the lineup, yet some great soul at Goldenvoice put them on the bill. This is why Coachella is the superior music festival in the United States, if not the entire world. Let’s try talking Damon Albarn into bringing Blur next year, yeah?

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