Tuesday, 3 August 2010

391 PULP, EELS, Tiger, Cardiff International Arena, Monday 30 November 1998

A bit of a car-mare to start with; Rachel picked me up at 5, but the car - her brother's - refused to start at Sarah's! We eventually bump-started it, but this didn't bode well for a post-gig restart. However, we parked up at 6.30 (!) and were seated in one of the seating blocks to the right of the nowhere-near-as-big-as-expected venue (about the size of Newport Centre, really) for the first band Tiger at 7. They were lumpen, metronomic and dull - 'bout what I expected, really. Guitarist Julie's short leather skirt was for me the most entertaining part of their set!

There were a few more people in for Eels set; the band which really swung it for me to come along tonight. They took the stage in white kung-fu suits, and preceded their set with some slick warm-up moves and kicks! They then played a damn fine set of their introspective doom ballads, punctuated by a "Novocaine For The Soul" in a Tex-Mex Los Lobos style, a "My Beloved Monster" which comedically transformed into "My Girl", an unusual but gripping Christmas song with an audience member on shaky bell thingies, and a superb "Last Stop; This Town", the set highlight. Heartbreak rarely sounded so joyful.

On to Pulp then. They hit the stage at 9, a silhouetted Jarvis leading the band through "The Fear", with his usual staccato dance, soon joined by... another Jarvis! It turned out Jarvo No. 2 was the kosher article, the other being a very convincing look/dance/soundalike! A clutch of favourites ensued; the perfect glam kitsch pop of "Babies", the sinister hooks of "Joyriders", and the deliciously grubby balladry of "Underwear". However their set was punctuated with too many disappointing numbers from recent "This Is Hardcore" LP, although Jarv is undeniably still a fantastic frontman, holding the audience in the palm of his hand throughout. A riotous "Common People" capped an energetic and sleazy hour and a half. If they'd have cut out the mid-section of the set, it would've been an utterly splendid hour!

Oh yeh, and the car started first time afterwards, and we were back just after 12 - in double-quick time!

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