Bigger and better
FOLLOWING superb homecoming shows from top local musicians Seth Lakeman and Ben Howard, prepare for another triumphant finale in a double header by Mad Dog McRea and Cosmo Jarvis on Friday week.
The UK tour, a gruelling 26-dater, that visits the University Great Hall, will round off a year that has seen Cosmo garner critical acclaim for both his song-writing and his filmmaking.
His third album, Think Bigger, that sees him focus on a singer-songwriter alternative country style rather than flit from genre to genre as in previous offerings Humasyouhitch/Sonofabitch and Is The World Strange or Am I Strange, has garnered four star reviews, from Mojo – "It's the originality and daring of Cosmo's lyrics that distance him from the identikit singer-songwriter" – and Q Magazine who hailed it "Swashbuckling, a place where acerbic commentaries on society's ills come disguised as folk-metal sea shanties or acid-blotter pop."
But it's his daring low budget black comedy film The Naughty Room, with themes of abuse, mental illness, bad parenting in a middle class setting, which has reached farthest, winning plaudits from the establishment, including Radio 4 – who aired a ten-minute feature on him on the Breakfast show, ahead of the film's TV debut on BBC4 a few weeks later.
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"I never expected it to be shown on TV," says Cosmo, "and the piece on Radio 4 was good because that way I got to a whole new demographic who wouldn't normally have got to hear about it."
The film has been screened at various universities around the country on rest days between tour dates with a Q&A session after.
"I thought people might be harsh about it, but they seem to have really got it and asked creative questions at the end."
And he says that the most difficult thing to deal with as a filmmaker is not being older.
"People just don't want to deal with you in a professional manner if you're young. But truly the worst part of making The Naughty Room was hearing Mr Spielberg up on Dartmoor making War Horse with a massive crew rather than a couple of Volkswagen Golfs."
Never one to rest on his laurels, Cosmo is already planning his next movie which he will make with the same team of actors (including members of Mad Dog) early in the New Year.
"It's another black comedy called Abandon Hope about a metal band – with the theme of parenting again, via a father/son relationship – and whether you should make compromises to give yourself a more secure lifestyle."
Currently, of course, it's his music that is taking centre stage and inevitably Gay Pirates – the raucous sing-along sea shanty knees up that found favour with Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, number-one fan Paul Gambaccini and received over one million YouTube hits – is the biggest crowd pleaser.
But others from the new album, like Love This and Problems, the hugely moving track about divorce from the first album, are proving very popular live.
"What's great is that members of Mad Dog get to play in my set, and I get to play in theirs. Dan's whistle playing on Pirates is superb."
Sounds like a winner and after a 26 dates on the road together they should be as well rehearsed as they're ever going to be.
Their show at the Uni on December 1 should be an absolute belter.