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Jarvis Cocker Feeds and Charms Music Hall Crowd

July 31st, 2009

Jarvis Cocker – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 30, 2009

Jarvis Cocker - Music Hall of Williamsburg - July 30, 2009
Mid-set last night at a sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg, former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker reached into the pocket of his white blazer and pulled out a bunch of grapes. True gentleman that he is, he took a break from performing his witty songs to toss the fruit toward the hungry crowd, even attempting (unsuccessfully) to throw a few grapes up into the balcony. Cocker continued pelting us with grapes even as his band began playing the opening bars of the soulful, self- consciously sexy “I Never Said I Was Deep” from his latest album, Further Complications. Moments later, he stripped off his blazer to many squeals from the crowd. Then came his tie, first loosened, and then ripped off with abandon. The crowd squealed more, as if to say, “Hey, we never said we were deep either.”

Though he may excel in the role of unlikely sex symbol, Jarvis Cocker’s music is the real draw. The new album clearly bears the imprint of its producer, the legendary Steve Albini, who seems to have roughed up the songs a bit, adding a satisfying edge to Cocker’s often acerbic, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Many of the songs on Further Complications have a retro pedigree, such as the saxophone-heavy “Homewrecker!” (wherein Cocker worked himself into a frenzy of flying limbs and twisted his voice into an incensed scream), which evokes a style that would not be out of place on a 1960s episode of Top of the Pops. Call it vintage rock by way of nouveau-Britpop. It’s a winning combination. —Alena Kastin

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com