Review of concert from 1977-07-15: with Attractions; Plymouth, Woods
Record Mirror, 1977-07-20 (magazine date is approximate only)
- Chris Rushton



IT COULD have been the Cavern in Liverpool more than 10 years ago. The group with the fragile young faces wore ties, starched collars and short stylised haircuts.

But it's 1977 in Woods, Plymouth, and it is Elvis Costello and his band playing so-called new wave music.

Elvis looks like a slightly stroppy creep of a school prefect - the type that gets beaten up after school hours. But once on stage he takes over the minds and the eardrums, of the audience without ever resorting to clever tricks or smooth talking between numbers.

Every song is rattled out efficiently and effectively with only the barest pause for loud applause. This machine-like performance is not without atmosphere as each song blends with those that came before and unnecessary chat would spoil the climax the group build for.

The music reminds me more of a roughened up Gerry and the Pacemakers than the Sex Pistelsand that's not an insult.

It's difficult to label Costello - and that's always a good sign for any act - but he kept flashing up images of what used to be known as rhythm `n' blues in the days of the Cavern.

True he has added more than a little to it - tight lyrics, smooth aggression and a lot more power - but the old beat 'n' swing is still there.