Archive This article is from our archive and might not display correctly. Download PDF
Cosmo Jarvis wanders on to the stage looking ever so slightly bewildered, as if he's just woken up from a long, startlingly-interrupted nap. It wouldn't be out of character, it would seem: he exudes an air of friendly insanity which, when you're writing songs as diverse in their subject matter as 'Love This', about God, and 'Lacie' (properly styled 'LaCie'), about an external hard drive, is nothing if not helpful.
He opens his set with 'Sure As Hell Not Jesus', a brilliantly catchy song with a video well worth looking up. By the end of the performance, the audience are firmly on Cosmo's side: whilst he doesn't chat much with the crowd, appearing shy throughout the gig, it turns out that he doesn't really have to. Although the dedicated sect of 16-year-old girls lining the front row (who, we can suppose, are regulars at Jarvis's gigs) were already won over, his semi-awkward charms and undeniable talent easily make up for the lack of crowd interaction. He really is very good.
The show progresses with everything I (as a relatively new initiative into the world of Cosmo Jarvis) had wanted to hear. 'Love This', a song about the meta-physical implications of God, deftly balancing brilliant lyricism ("If I believe in Heaven I deny myself a death / Dying keeps me conscious of the way I waste my breath") with a pop-beat is re-worked with '60s-esque harmonies layered over the chorus. Jarvis knows what the audience wants, but refuses to give it to them on their own terms, consistently providing new and interesting additions to his best-known songs. He scatters new and comparatively less known songs throughout the set, inviting the audience to find a new favourite which, as it happens, I did.
His live performance of 'Sunshine', from his latest album, was really rather brilliant, providing me with my new favourite CJ lyric in a song about the benefits of hardship: "In the rain I knew where I stood / 'cause a wet man knows he's owed some good".