ON DECEMBER 8, 2012, Jarvis Cocker, the dead-sexy singer of Pulp, and his bandmates prepare for a final reunion show in their hometown of Sheffield, England. Onstage, Cocker is bathed in purple lights, sweat, and the glow of cell phones as he kicks, vogues, and thrusts around the stage to "Common People"—reliving the band's apex of '90s Britpop. Minutes later in the documentary Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets, we see Cocker on his knees changing a flat tire on his economy car while a heavenly chorus sings "Common People," ostensibly saying, "Jarvis is just one of us little people." But we all know he's much, much better.
Pulp broke up in 2002, and they weren't much for touring the US anyway (never even setting foot in the Pacific Northwest), so the documentary Pulp might be your only chance to see the band onstage. Director Florian Habicht includes a lot of concert footage, but you'll have to be patient: There are also interviews with Cocker and his bandmates, like drummer Nick Banks, who coaches his daughter's soccer team (a team sponsored by Pulp!), and keyboardist Candida Doyle, who's nervous about the show. Amid these cursory interviews are portraits of Sheffield's hoi polloi—a restaurant full of elderly singing "Help the Aged," a newspaper monger anticipating the concert, a young girl listening to "Disco 2000" for the first time. They are charming and winsome, yes, but it's Pulp we want... onstage.
And once showtime comes, what a fucking show it is. Cocker is in fine form, snaking around the stage like a nerdy dandy, humping speakers and peeling off clothes. It's almost as if Pulp creates their own weather system in the packed Sheffield arena—toilet paper streams down into the crowd like driving sleet, the smoke-machine fog is as thick as Cocker's hipster glasses, and a beautifully executed snowstorm of confetti drifts down, blanketing girls' lashes. It's pretty magical. Nothing common here.