JARV IS… + Alexis Taylor @ O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK – 8th November 2021

Review and Photography by Robert Barrett

The master chameleon, the wizard of Brit pop, agent provocateur, lockdown legend. The question is always, what will Jarvis do next? JARV IS… at the O2 Institute proved he has, and will continue to do whatever he wants, and we will be ready for it.

A criminally small audience was gathered when Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip frontman and established solo artist in his own right) took to the stage, a whole two hours before Jarvis.

Armed mainly with a keyboard and a small support band, with a set focusing on his upcoming album “Silence”, full of meditative, reflective tracks recorded over lockdown. It was a slow intimate set that would have worked in a smaller room but struggled to translate to the half empty main room. Towards the end the energy picked up when Alexis hopped onto his guitar for an intense beer bottle slide solo.

The squelchy bubbly synths of the His ‘N’ Her’s classic “She’s a Lady” pumped out as the JARV IS… band took the stage. Then like a velvet suited whippet out of the track Jarvis himself arrived, full of the hip shaking expressive dancing you would expect.

The pace didn’t let up with the “Beyond the Pale” highlight “House Music All Night Long”, an eirrily profetic track for a post lockdown world. After a heavy two hitter we were treated to Jarvis’s signature chat, which was almost as delightful as the music. After a number of recent gigs where the banter is in short supply it was refreshing to have an artist interact with the crowd, and throw oranges and sweets out (that’s the real way to our heart).

“Yes i can play it” retorted Jarvis as he pulled out his guitar for a few tracks, toning down the energy but losing none of the charm The always hilarious solo cut “Fat Children” rocked the room out, and made me wish for more cuts from his underappreciated noughties solo albums.

The cathartic “Cunt’s are Still Running the World” was the last song i expected to have a singalong, but in these times it’s an apt anthem for the masses.

The lengthy encore included “Aline” from his Wes Anderson tie in album and the classic Pulp track “My Legendary Girlfriend”. As Jarvis vanished back into the night he left us in awe of the breath and depth of his musical legacy. JARV IS… a musical legend thats always pushing forwards as proved by the show, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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