He may be sporting the look of a bearded geography teacher and be in the middle of having a mid-life crisis, but hot damn, the boy still has it.
Yes, it was the return of the best bad dancer in the country, strutting his stuff on a hot summer's evening in Rock City. El Jarvo was back with his band -- with Steve Mackey (former Pulp colleague) getting an especially warm cheer from the audience.
Turning the old (and frankly rather nasty) adage on his side, he sure sweats a lot for a skinny lad, but then Jarvis has never done stage performing as a half measure. From first entrance, he immediately throws himself into the usual shape-throwing, audience tormenting lurches. He hands little gifts to the audience (chocolates? I'd know for certain if I had been at the front)* and wiggles, kicks and struts inelegantly across the stage.
I failed to keep track of the set-list, but seeing the latest album live certainly brings out its best qualities. I had thought that Jarvis, his previous album release, was the far superior collection -- it probably still is, but not by the country mile that I had initially feared when I first started hearing tracks from 'Further Complications'. Sure, there's a bitter edge to the latest album, and plenty of throwback musical references to 1970s pop-rock: but he remains as sharply witty and bitingly self- (or is it character-?) deprecating as ever. And the one-liners and caustic observations still stream through.
He teases the audience, gets stroppy about the lights at the front of the stage shining in his eyes ("its like fucking traffic lights in my eyes! I can't see the audience") and rambles as only he can. A delightful 90 minutes: "if I could I would refrigerate it".
So, in all, he might claim to be 'no eligible bachelor', but the Jarvis retains that gawky, angular sexuality and is as captivating as ever a guy with whom to spend time. Worth waiting for.
* Sadly, since the lovely Neil tolerated to come with me I watched the gig from a position atop the two step stairwell which at least enabled me to see over the heads of the pit in front of the stage. As even Neil acknowledged, If I'd have gone on my own I'd have been in town since 2pm, hung out at Rock City, probably taken my chances on the band heading to the Trip for a drink, and taken up a centre right front of stage position as soon as the doors opened. Oh yes.
Cross-posted to Music is our Hot, Hot Sex