Bard Times, May 17, 1979

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Bard Times
  • 1979 May 17

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Elvis Costello

Art Carlson


By coincidence Lewis Shaffer dragged me off to see him as the Palladium around the time of that incident. Lewis still must've been a little irked at me for mentioning his name in the other article, but seeing Costello live did not change my opinion. It reinforced it. He didn't Suck or anything, it wasn't torture, the band was competent and well rehearsed and it was fun to be at a rock show, but even liveness could not add excitement to the music. Costello is very good at slapping bits of music together in a sometimes interesting way, but they are still slapped together bits and they are still only interesting. Sort of like what Steely Dan does, only worse. They never achieve a rocking coherence.

It was interesting to see what the "Elvis Costello crowd" would look like. There were a lot of people both inside and outside the Palladium, hoping to suck on a piece of the action, and except for a few people going for the Costello clone look (nerdy glasses, haircut, suit) and a few who were punked out, the crowd was remarkably unexceptional looking. It looked like a nice, clean well dressed middle class crowd. Not quite the geek and terminally maladjusted crowd I have anticipated, but their way much worse. There were very few of the stunningly beautiful women on often sees at rock shows, very few of anything except for nice kids whose idea of getting rowdy is seeing Elvis Costello and getting up and stomping and clapping and screaming some. The music suited them perfectly.

Maybe we are entering the clone era, where everyone aspires to be a clone of everyone else, and therein define themselves as individuals. It stands to reason as the logical conclusion of the American ethos of individualism mad dogma where we all agree on what individualism is so we become exactly alike. Rock and Roll has literally descended into the clone era, with acts calling themselves "Elvis clones" and such. At any rate, we need a new synthesis to get the music out of that rut it often falls into. But I'm not worried. There is a lot of fertile soil out there, and that's where its got to go. It's time to go over the wall.


Bard Times, May 17, 1979

Art Carlson's review of the Sex Pistol's Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle includes a mention of Elvis Costello's Palladium show, Saturday, March 31, 1979, New York City.


1979-05-17 Bard Times page 06.jpg
Page scan.


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