While the rest of New England spent the weekend bracing for that wet, windy, bitch named Irene, WFNX Program Director PAUL DRISCOLL set off for Old England to take in this year's Reading Festival. It won't be long before PD is back in the states, armed with stories about partying too hard backstage with the Joy Formidable or Viva Brother or whoever, but we seemed to already find the weekend's highlight, courtesy of YouTube and those reformed and revitalized Britpop veterans from Sheffield.
And that highlight, much like it was during Glastonbury in 1995, is PULP performing "Common People," the song we here at the Phoenix declared the Number 1 Britpop Anthem of the '90s.
If you seek any further justification for our claim, just look at this clip. Sweet Jesus. Here's a band that was out of the game for most of the 2000s, and with only a handful of reunion gigs under their collective leather belts, they absolutely owned the stage this past Saturday. Legendary. Little doubt is left over the accuracy of our selection -- we were deadlocked for hours between this and Oasis' "Live Forever," and truth be told, if Luke O'Neil had actually attended the Phoenix/WFNX Britpop Summit, his love for Oasis might have swayed the vote. Alas, after hours of debate and near fisticuffs, I used executive order placed in me as the alt-weekly's music editor and declared Pulp the victor.
After this weekend, there's simply no arguing against it. "Common People" is as poignant and powerful as it was 16 years ago. And Jarvis Cocker still knows how to seduce a crowd, whether it be the Paradise Rock Club back in '98 or so, or of tens of thousands of mad-for-it motherfuckers sorted for e's, whizz, and whatever else 2k11 cooks up way out somewhere in a field in Reading (oh yeah).
And hey, if that's not enough, Cocker also joined the Strokes headlining performance and teamed up with the NYC bros for a cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed." Kinda poor execution, honestly, but that's OK -- the combination of players and subject alone is enough to cause a stateside riot and demand that Pulp get their sassy asses back to the USA very, very soon.