One lanky, raised arm appears through a cloud of smoke, and the packed-out ABC goes nuts. I’m struggling to think of another UK performer who commands such instant, indulgent devotion – and naked lust, actually, as the room is thick with sex, and Our Jarvis’s every perfectly-choreographed scissor kick elicits the kind of involuntary screaming not heard since the early years of E. Presley’s pelvis.
While he’s still every inch the English eccentric, there’s something raw about this version of Jarvis. The scorched, ripped-out vocals on the middle section of mostly new songs, notably relationship-ender ‘I Never Said I Was Deep’, seem to betray a hitherto only joked-about self-loathing in the national treasure. It’s a deeply affecting, intense set, climaxing in a screaming, writhing version of ‘Black Magic’. He then comes back on stage for another hour’s worth of encore, which never quite regains that intensity. But, at the end, shirt transparent with sweat, there’s no doubt the country’s favourite entertainer has still got it.
ABC, Glasgow, Fri 12 Jun jarviscocker.net