An Evening With Jarvis
After half an hour of bourgeois Christmas tunes the crowd at the sold-out Roundhouse are in need of a pretty spectacular saviour, and in the form of the bespeckled, lanky Jarvis Cocker, they definitely get it.
Cocker opens his set with the caustic and utterly fabulous 'Fat Children', which barrels along to low-slung, swinging bassline, tonight added by Mr Steve Mackey, with Richard Hawley also in attendance. From the off it's apparent that in an evening with Jarvis the music, however impressive it is, is almost a second thought to the Sheffield star's onstage banter. Jarvis - satsuma and all - charms us with his thoughts on the evils of Christmas, the venue's smoking ban and with razor sharp wit renames the introspective ballad, 'I Will Kill Again', 'I Will Kill You Again', in relation to one particularly loud fan. Jarvis is undoubtedly one of the most engaging and amusing musicians up there and compared to an evening of taciturn and over serious music, Jarvis' brand wins hands down as waves of laughter ripple through the crowd as he regales us with stories of his "fighting the Brit Pop wars" for our right to listen to indie dance music.
The music though, is of course the point of the evening and as charismatic and cool as the man himself, from the poignant strains of 'Baby's Coming Back To Me', to the hyper-powered lush big rock number, 'Black Magic', it's a fabulous set that brings to life Cocker's debut solo material. There are two new offerings too, in the form of a catchy upbeat indie tune, 'Big Stuff' and the highly amusing tale of what befalls a man whose main relationship is with a curry company, 'My One Man Show'. All of the tunes come into their own in the live arena, with 'Disney Time' and 'From A To I' deserving a special mention, the former shimmering with dark philosophy. While the Jarvis returns all guns blazing for an encore including download-only single 'Cunts Are Still Running The World' and a rapturous version of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine', evoking the spirit of an album which was recorded in the Roundhouse's own walls in its more disreputable days.
Somewhere between misfit, social commentator, spokesman for a generation and abhorrently normal, Jarvis' set combines the awe of seeing a live legend with the laughter of a night in the pub with your mates and it's been a simply stunning evening.