November 15, 2007
The t-shirts make the point. Lined up in the foyer of London’s Koko, they’ve all got song lyrics printed on them, a way of reinforcing Jarvis Cocker’s status as one of the great wordsmiths of post-80s pop.
Lyrically, Cocker’s debut solo album Jarvis – his first release since 2003’s A Heavy Night With… from side-project Relaxed Muscle – is certainly in the glorious tradition of the pithy, blackly comic best of Pulp.
Musically, though, the album is something of a curate’s egg – as evinced by tonight’s show, which comprises almost exclusively material from Jarvis.
Supported by Richard Hawley and Pulp’s Steve Mackey and Candida Doyle, Cocker launches into the full-throttle opener of “Fat Children”, one of the album’s highlights. But “Heavy Weather” sounds note-for-note like “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, and there are several mid-tempo longeurs around two thirds of the way through the set which slow the pace. When the material shone, though, as on the driving “I Will Kill Again” and Glam rock stomp of “Black Magic”, Cocker was peerless.
Some things never change: Cocker gives us vintage, gangly Ministry Of Silly Walks-style dancing, and some magnificent between-song banter, much of it to do with Jarvis’ distaste for the venue’s name change from Camden Palace to Koko.
After returning to the stage for “Running The World”, Jarvis teased the audience with the promise of playing “an old song” – which he did, but it turned out to be Bowie’s “Space Oddity” rather than anything from his own back catalogue.
The set list:
Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time
One Man Show
I Will Kill Again
Running The World
Jarvis – Live At Koko – November 15
Former Pulp frontman makes London debut as a solo artist