JARV IS... @ O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK, November 8th, 2021 | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, November 27th, 2021  


JARV IS… @ O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK, November 8th, 2021,

Nov 18, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

There’s something magic about Monday night gigs, because only the truly dedicated are ever there, often still recovering from the weekend’s excesses and willing to forget the follies of going out on a school night. But then, who wouldn’t want to start the week with our Jarvis? Especially in the grand setting of former Methodist church O2 Institute in Birmingham, (the Pulp popstar checked on Wikipedia before the gig, the first of many facts recounted over the night in keeping with his 6music Sunday Service show) where we finally get to enjoy the lanky singer’s latest incarnation as semi solo artist Jarv Is… promoting last year’s debut LP Beyond The Pale on a tour that has previously been postponed three times.

He begins his spellbinding set with a classic track “She’s A Lady” from his Britpop glory days as found on essential album His N Hers. Emerging from the shadows and following his band, Cocker once again summons all the kitchen sink desperation and boy next door frustration for which his famed as he leaps around the stage thrusting his hips and throwing shapes like it was still the mid 90’s. Sheffield’s sexiest son then treats us to his strangely sinister single “House Music All Night Long” which has become somewhat of a soundtrack to these days of COVID – though he emphatically informs us was written well before the pandemic. And it feels like the return of an old friend as Jarvis turns on the Yorkshire charm between each song, side swiping any notions of being an indie icon with a flick of the hand and bursting fan worshipping bubbles with self-deprecating jokes and tossing out sweets to the audience instead and lobbing chunks of apple into the air and catching it in his mouth.

It feels like a relatively short set, but that is probably owing to the length of his new material as each strange disco and krautrock influenced track tends to last six minutes at least. New song, yet to be titled either “Slow Jam” or “Bad Friday” (I prefer the latter as it’s a bizarre blues yarn set during Easter), is particularly impressive as is “Sometimes I Am Pharoah” which sees Jarvis at his most theatrical and when combined with a dazzling array of lights and lasers feels like a West End musical staged at a warehouse party.

The highlights of the night include fan favourite “Running The World” from his first solo album which becomes a raucous singalong rallying against all the cunts that keep getting into power and making life hellish for the rest of us – and it should have been the big closing finish. Plus, “Must I Evolve?” which takes us on a musical odyssey from all the stages of human advancement from single cell organisms to modern day cave raver and sees the bespectacled wonder really get into the groove and jiggle frenetically from one side of the stage to the other. And while this isn’t Pulp, and it’s hard to not miss one of the greatest bands of all time, it’s easy to see that Jarv Is… is the inevitable progression of what the Britpop A-listers would have become – but should they reform we would never get to enjoy them in such an intimate way as this.


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