Across the summer months Pulp will visit seaside resorts, towns, cities and parks
UK - Pulp, live on stage, a fleetingly rare event in recent years is a moment to cherish, none more so than this current outing. Across the summer months they will visit seaside resorts, towns, cities and parks, playing theatres, arenas and festivals. Just the sort of complex logistical puzzle production manager Joel Stanley enjoys.
“Not quite,” he said with a grin. “It's just 13 shows in three months though dates keep getting added. The budget was set a year ago when the band began music rehearsals as a six piece; I came on board at the start of this year and we now have 17 people on stage.”
Balancing budget, band and venues saw Stanley reach for some certainty as a fulcrum. “My three core vendors, Neg Earth, Video Design and Skan PA have brought great attention to detail in support of making this adaptable demand actually work. With such a tricky itinerary and a need for expanding and contracting production, I wouldn’t settle for anything but the best, I needed to know there would be no issues once we got out there.
“We have a template for the show built on the festival rig where we can nestle our five flown trusses amongst whatever’s is already there. More than enough for a robust arena show, they can readily be scaled down for the theatres.”
Garth Jennings is the show director, chosen by Jarvis Cocker for their not infrequent collaborations on his solo work. Jennings is more recognisably an auteur than a rock ‘n’ roll show designer; his movie credits include Sing and Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, et al, so the conceptual element of this show is arguably more vivid than that to which we might expect.
“I knew I needed a lighting designer who could rise to the occasion and was fortunate to secure Doug (Douglas) Green who comes from the Rob Sinclair school of art and lighting. We have a complex drape tracking system from Blackout on curved trussing. A comfortable shoe-in for a company like Neg Earth; you’d think we just asked for an extra length of truss.”
“Elsewhere, Video Design integrated LED modules into the Garth’s set design that rises in 600mm steps front to back. The base stage, risers and lifts all come from Tait; Next Stage engineered the video/set integration. The attachment of LED tiles from Video Design to the riser fronts are a collaborative effort between them and Next Stage. It’s a really nice and quick deployment, with all the cabling residing permanently within the riser frames. Fast, easy and secure.”
“Our sound engineer, Barak Koren is also the regular FOH for Nick Cave. We wanted to use Skan, a choice he was entirely comfortable with. Their switching between control & monitor rigs, theatre and arena full PA packages has been seamless.
“Examples like that make a big difference. Garth needed some support to engage with the world of R’n’R touring as opposed to movie making. We had to explain the importance of immovable deadlines for things like video content generation (Julian House at Intro UK with Studio Flint) and the discipline of rehearsal procedures - I’ve been really impressed with how readily he has taken this on and his enthusiasm for the process. He is so willing to learn and so lovely with it.”
Stanley had a sentimental reason for wanting to take on this tour. Pulp, before their long absence from the stage, used to tour in the care of PM Richard Young. A good friend and mentor to Stanley, Young was a leading example of what makes this industry good to work for. We are all poorer for his loss. A timely reminder that if you truly value something, catch it while you can, Pulp included.

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