Berlingske Tidende, July 6, 2010

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Berlingske Tidende

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Tandløs Elvis


Thomas Søie Hansen

Elvis Costello var ikke Elvis Costello, og han havde ydermere smidt nøglen til sin musikalske skattekiste væk, da han gæstede København.

★★★

Da en ung, frådende Elvis Costello stemplede ind på rockens kontor for første gang i 1977, var det nok de færreste, der havde forventet at se ham stå iført stråhat, et bredt smil og spille halvlunkne country-folksange 33 år senere på en scene i Tivoli. Men det var ikke desto mindre, hvad den nu 55-årige brite gjorde mandag aften.

I selskab med seks modne kammesjukker fra cognac og cigarklubben the Sugarcanes stod han dér og hyggede sig voldsomt med instrumenter som harmonika, guitar, violin, gulvbas, mandolin, dobro- og pedalsteelguitar. Han har spillet den slags musik i snart ti år, lige som han har været forbi jazz, klassisk, pop, lounge og meget, meget mere på sin svingende musikalske vej. Men det er stadig i rocken, især i rocksangen, at han har sin primære styrke. Ingen synger som han, ingen har hans abrupte diktion, brutale fraseringer og skarpe bid. Det fik publikum i Tivolis koncertsal desværre kun få prøver på, idet Costello var kommet til København med en stemme, han selv undskyldte for flere gange i løbet af de 90 spilleminutter. Faktisk var det kun i sættets to sidste numre, den smukke "Shipbuilding" og den rockede "(What’s So Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?", at Elvis Costello lød som sig selv. Ellers var han bare hæs og uden sædvanens karakter og power.

Selv om Elvis drønede ind på scenen med syvmileskridt og nærmest kastede guitaren omkring sin venstre skulder og gik i gang med "Mystery Train" hurtigere end Usain Bolt har for vane at rejse sig fra startblokken på de internationale 100 meter baner, førte energien ikke til meget andet end fornøjelige klapsalver med lidt for andægtig slagside. Først en lille halv tme inde i koncerten under "Good Year For The Roses", fremmanede han et strejf af noget, man kunne mærke under huden nede på stolerække 13. Den fine ballade blev sendt af sted med en længsel og ynde, der umiddelbart efter fik følgeskab af aftenens mest rockede nummer, "Complicated". Her spillede Costello næsten sig selv med ukueligt, fandenivolsk punkattitude. Han sang og spillede ligefrem, som om han havde noget på spil. Og han fortsatte i samme dur med "The Delivery Man": In a certain light he looked like Elvis/In a certain way he feels like Jesus/Everyone dreams of him just as they can/But he’s only a humble Delivery Man«. Så var vi ved at være der, tænkte man, hvorefter Elvis Costello smed det hele på gulvet og vendte tilbage til de bløde slag i bolledejen. Vist var den senere "A Slow Drag Josephine" ikke ueffen, men har man oplevet den herre på såvel plade som til koncert, ja, så var en pauver omgang. Men charmerende, stedvist ligefrem vittig, det var han. Det var bare ikke nok til at gøre denne post-Roskilde Festival-aften til noget særligt.


Translation from Danish via Google Translate:

Toothless Elvis


Elvis Costello was not Elvis Costello, and he had further thrown the key to his musical treasure away when he visited Copenhagen.

As a young, raging Elvis Costello stamped onto the rock scene for the first time in 1977; it was probably very few people who had expected to see him standing wearing a straw hat, a broad smile and playing lukewarm country-folk songs 33 years later on a stage in Tivoli. But it was nevertheless what the now 55-year-old Briton did on Monday night.

In the company of six mature cronies from a cognac and cigar club the Sugarcanes they stood there and enjoyed themselves tremendously with instruments like the accordion, guitar, violin, upright bass, mandolin, dobro and pedal steel guitar. He has played this kind of music for about ten years, just as he has played jazz, classical, pop, lounge and much more on his swinging musical path. But it's still rock, especially in rock song that he has his main strength. No one sings like him, no one has his abrupt, brutal phrasings and sharp bite. It had the audience in the Tivoli Concert Hall unfortunately just wanting, because Costello had come to Copenhagen with one voice, he apologized several times during the 90 minutes performance. Actually, it was only in the set's last two numbers, the beautiful 'Shipbuilding' and the rocking '(What’s So Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?' that Elvis Costello sounded like himself. Otherwise, he was just hoarse and outside of habit, character and power.

Although Elvis sped onto the scene with great strides and almost threw the guitar around his left shoulder and started 'Mystery Train' faster than Usain Bolt in the habit of getting up from the starting block in the international 100-metre sprint, the energy did not lead to much of anything, but enjoyable applause with a little devotional bias. Only half an hour into the concert with 'Good Year For The Roses', he conjured up a touch of something you could feel under the skin as far away as Row 13. The fine ballad was sent away with a longing and grace that immediately after was joined by the evening's most rocking number 'Complicated'. Here Costello played almost himself with indomitable, reckless punk attitude. He sang and played exactly as if he had something at stake. And he continued in the same vein with 'The Delivery Man': In a certain light he looked like Elvis / In a certain way he feels like Jesus / Everyone dreams of him just as they can / But he's only a humble Delivery Man'. So we were getting there, I thought you and then Elvis Costello threw it all on the floor and returned to the soft slap in the bun dough. Displayed was the recent 'A Slow Drag Josephine' not ueffen, but has seen the men on both plate as a concert, well, so was a pauver place. But charming place shown even witty, he was. It just was not enough to make this post Roskilde Festival evening special.

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Berlingske, July 6, 2010


Thomas Søie Hansen reviews Elvis Costello and The Sugarcanes, Monday, July 5, 2010, Tivoli Koncertsalen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


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