A rooftop in Neutral Bay is probably the last place I ever expected to hear Cosmo Jarvis belt out "Gay Pirates" but that's what happened on Monday night when he performed a six-song showcase for assorted industry types. Like many people, that quirky anthem was my introduction to the scarily talented 22-year-old but since then I've become a huge fan and was excited about his Sydney debut. It got off to a somewhat unconventional start when the Brit played around with his guitar and spent a couple of minutes sorting out the sound settings before launching into the awesome "Sure As Hell Not Jesus" but those tics, which became more prevalent through the show, are part of Cosmo's raw charm. After a note-perfect rendition of that underrated gem, he moved onto "She Doesn't Mind" - one of my favourites from his excellent sophomore album "Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange?" That song never fails to put a smile on my face with its amusing lyrics and unexpected sweetness.
Next up was a new track called "Train Downtown", which Cosmo explained was set in the future - "not 1000 years but maybe 800". It turned out to be a typically idiosyncratic take on human relationships that rang true for me. I can't wait to hear a studio version. Before moving on to his current single "My Day" (below), the singer/director explained that he usually performs the song with a five-piece band but it still sounded great with the trio present. This guy not only has a deceptively strong voice, he's also an extremely accomplished musician. As he proved by picking up a mandolin to sing "Gay Pirates". I interviewed Cosmo earlier in the day - stay tuned for that - and he confided that he's sick to death of singing his tale of gay love on the high seas but it still gets me every time. He closed with "Blame It On Me", which is perhaps the album's weakest moment but I'm not complaining. Cosmo is the real deal and destined for huge things. Get on board now.