last night's gig

Jarvis Cocker, Still Sarcastic After All These Years

Jarvis Cocker in MarchPhoto by Getty Images

Egyptian icons. Buddhist imagery. The décor at Webster Hall makes no sense: You don’t often associate spiritual enlightenment with a place that occasionally hosts amateur strip nights. Jarvis Cocker, who ended a two-night stint there last night, spent Sunday’s show musing about the venue’s faux-sacred interior. “It’s like we’re inside the Ark of the Covenant,” the onetime Pulp front man said, just before ripping into “Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time,” the lead single from his excellent new solo album, Jarvis. “We’re the contents of the Ark.”

Cocker spent the next hour making similarly dry observations. During the encore, he teased about playing Pulp songs: “We’ve run out of my songs, so now we have to play some old ones.” Those “old ones” ended up being a version of Talking Heads’ “Heaven” and a Satan-approved rendition of “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath.

Much has been made of Cocker’s middle age and his recent turn toward family life, but he’s still as ornery as ever. And that famous dystopian world view came through both in song and in his fandom for biblical justice. “I think if we escape this place, we’ll have the power to dissolve things,” he joked. “Which isn’t a bad power to have, really.” — Kyle Anderson

Listen to “Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time” [In the House With Jeremy Piven]

Jarvis Cocker, Still Sarcastic After All These Years