Pulp star Jarvis Cocker joined his former bandmate Richard Hawley in a surprise performance at Sheffield’s Leadmill music venue, in support of the ongoing eviction battle against its Landlords.
Cocker joined fellow Sheffielder Hawley on the second day of his four-day residency in support of the venue, which was handed an eviction notice in March.
Pulp performed their first gig at the Leadmill more than 40 years ago, in August 1980. The venue also played a pivotal role in the careers of bands including Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys.
Addressing the crowd, Cocker said: “It’s more than this building and this stage, it’s something that’s grown over years and it’s a feeling.” He said that “[the landlords] may own the bricks and mortar, but they don’t own the spirit of the Leadmill”, and called for them to “have some respect for a beautiful thing”.
Hawley and Cocker performed a cover of The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat, and a never before heard song called A Sunset, which is said to be inspired by the venue’s original logo that featured a sunset.
The Leadmill said in a statement in March that it had received the “devastating news” that in one year’s time “our landlord is trying to evict us, forcing us to close”, prompting outcry from music fans and performers across the country.
Dominic Madden, CEO and co-founder of Electric Group, the company that bought the freehold for the site of the Leadmill in March 2017, said “the Leadmill will continue to operate as a special music venue. The management may change but the song stays the same.”
After running the site since 1980, the management team claimed they were still being “exterminated by the landlord” because the site owners own the building but not the business or the name and will profit from the “goodwill and reputation” the venue has built over the past 40 years.
Almost 40,000 people have signed the petition to help suspend section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which allows the landlord to terminate a tenancy.
Hawley has said he will be joined by special guests for the remaining nights of the residency, which wraps up on Friday 12 August.
Cocker announced in July that Pulp will regroup in 2023 for reunion shows. The band last performed together in 2012.