Jarvis Cocker is kind of the resident elder statesman at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.
He flat-out owned the stage tonight, strutting, kicking and jumping -- all this being done by one of the older performers at a festival dominated by younger bands whose appeal extends only a few years beyond college.
Jarvis opened his set just as The Hold Steady wrapped up their own high-energy gig. And like any veteran entertainer, he engaged the crowd in a manner absent from other sets over the weekend. After Pulp went on an extended hiatus in 2004, Jarvis tooled around on side-projects and eventually released Jarvis a self-titled LP in late 2006.
Before he and his band performed "Caucasian Blues," the British vocalist with well-earned reputation for clever stage banter and dry humor took a shot at the current state of blues music, saying it unfortunately is now the realm for burly guys who ride choppers.
UPDATE: View YouTube video of "Caucasian Blues"
Next, he took off his courduroy jacket and strapped on an acoustic guitar for "Tonite," a soft, warm song that again showed the musician's songwriting range.
Cocker also played a new song, "Girls Like It Too," and explained its meaning to the crowd with a darkly funny anecdote about the death of famous British DJ John Peel.
"Now you've heard of a man called John Peel?" Cocker rhetorically asked the audience. "You've heard of him?"
"He sadly died three or four years ago [10/25/04], and at his funeral, his brother read a letter he wrote to him when he was about 13 or 14 years old, when he started to get interested in sex. Anyway, the letter said, 'Remember, girls like it too.'
"I thought that was really good, pithy advice, so I wrote a song about it."