Pulp may have reunited last year, but it was a strictly European and Aussie affair, so fans in the States felt left out, unwanted. But this month it was announced the Britpop pioneers would be coming stateside in April for both Coachella weekends — their first live shows in America since 1998. And on Monday Pulp revealed they’d added a pair of shows in New York City and San Francisco around their Coachella dates.
Pulp likes us, they really like us!
There are many reasons to be excited about this mini-tour, but high up on our list is simply the chance to see their uber-cool frontman Jarvis Cocker rocking out with his mates on our turf. As we furiously YouTubed live Pulp performances in the wake of these announcements, for the first time we were struck by how much time has passed in the Pulp universe — mainly owing to how Britpop’s bearded sage barely resembles the wide-eyed, mop-haired scamp of the Different Class days. The frenetic frontman has always maintained a sense of refined cool, and though he would hate to admit it, he has developed into something of a style icon. Whereas old photos of most musicians from the ’90s feel laughably ’90s (bleached hair, earth tones, a multitude of pants pockets, Doc Martens), Cocker’s style always seemed self-sufficient, not of a specific era or movement. In fact, many of his hallmarks — the retro suits and sweaters, the thick-rimmed glasses, the graphic t-shirts — are now the mainstream look. Jarvis Cocker — the original hipster?
Cocker has never been shy about his distaste for fashion’s meddlesome relationship with music: a few years ago he told The Telegraph “Fashion is so much about just taking the surface appearance of things and not giving a damn about the content. And with music you can’t do that.” Still, we can point to five different Cocker typologies that have emerged over the years. Which one will we get this year? Only time will tell.
1. The Common Person
If you pen an indelible anthem called “Common People,” it’s best to dress like it as well. For the early years of Pulp, Cocker often donned button up shirts that you and I could most likely afford — and looks great, too, when posing with actual common people.
2. The Britpop Bob
Here he channeled the early Beatles look — haircut and all — with some added gloss. His trademark thick-framed glasses were appearing more and more during this time.
3. The London Gentleman
Double-breasted jackets reigned. Sweaters returned, but not the ratty type that he was fond of in his younger days. By this point, the glasses had become a permanent fixture. We don’t know how he flails around on stage without those specs ever budging an inch, but we can’t wait to see him pull off the feat in April.
4. The Cool Uncle
Most musicians get the long-hair phase out of the way early in their careers. Not Cocker. But even with the floppy ’do, whether he was in a suit or a high fashion t-shirt, he never looked unkempt.
5. The Shaggy Professor
The current iteration — similar to the Cool Uncle phase, but with dressier suits and a beard. This is what it looks like to be a distinguished rocker.