Pulp – live in Amsterdam – Melkweg – December 8, 1995 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Pulp in concert to end the week. Unfairly lumped into the “Brit-Pop” genre, Pulp were so much more of a socially conscious band than their peers. Their songs and sentiments are just as relevant today as they were when this concert was performed in 1995. Things haven’t changed – in many ways it’s worse, much worse. So a dose of Pulp tonight seems so apropos of current affairs.
A reminder of Pulp in the 90s via Wikipedia:
In the 90s, Pulp’s repertoire was growing rapidly. Tracks such as “Babies”, “Space” and “She’s a Lady” were being played live throughout 1991 and in October of that year, they played their first overseas gig, a concert organised by French magazine Les Inrockuptibles. However, the band were still frustrated that Separations still had not seen a release and so Pulp left Fire and signed to Warp Records imprint Gift Records in 1992. Buoyed by a changing musical current, in June 1992 Pulp released “O.U.” on Gift while Fire finally released Separations in the same month. Melody Maker made “O.U” a single of the week alongside “The Drowners” by Suede, a prominent new band. Pulp then signed to Island Records, who jointly released (with Gift) the singles “Babies” and “Razzmatazz” to increasing chart success. Next were the singles “Lipgloss” and their first top 40 hit on the UK Singles Chart, “Do You Remember the First Time?”, which were put out as full Island releases. These singles were followed by the Ed Buller-produced album, His ‘n’ Hers (1994), which reached number nine on the UK Albums Chart and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
This sudden increase in popularity was helped by the massive media interest in Britpop alongside acts such as Suede, Oasis and Blur, with Pulp supporting the latter in a 1994 tour of the United States. 1995 saw the peak of Pulp’s fame, with the release of their number two single on the UK Singles Chart, “Common People”, in May 1995 and their performance in June at the Glastonbury Festival (standing in for The Stone Roses at the last minute). A double A-side single, “Sorted for E’s & Wizz/Mis-Shapes”, was to precede the release of their next album, Different Class (1995). Upon the release of “Sorted for E’s and Wizz”, the Daily Mirror printed a front-page story headed “BAN THIS SICK STUNT” alongside a story by Kate Thornton which said the song was “pro-drugs” and called for the single to be banned. The single had an inlay which showed how to conceal amphetamines in a DIY ‘wrap’. Cocker released a statement two days later saying: “…’Sorted’ is not a pro-drugs song. Nowhere on the sleeve does it say you are supposed to put drugs in here but I understand the confusion. I don’t think anyone who listens to ‘Sorted’ would come away thinking it had a pro-drugs message.” The single reached number two on the UK Single Charts.
Released in October 1995, Different Class garnered significant critical praise and debuted at the top of the UK Album Chart. This was the first album featuring Pulp fan-club president Mark Webber, who became a permanent member of the band on guitar and keyboards. The album followed similar themes to their previous work with observations of life expressed through Cocker’s sexualised, sometimes dark and witty lyrics. Other singles released from Different Class were “Disco 2000” and “Something Changed”, which reached numbers seven and ten respectively in the UK. In September 1996, Different Class won the Mercury Music Prize.
Here’s one of those concerts from the memorable 1995 period – crank it up, as long as you’re stuck at home like everybody else.