Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustang Daily, April 12, 2010

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Rock legend Elvis Costello
headlines concert at Cal Poly


John McCullough

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Elvis Costello is scheduled to play a solo concert at Cal Poly's Christopher Cohen Performing Arts Center (PAC) tonight for a nearly sold out audience. More than 30 years after the release of his first album, the rock and roll legend is coming hack to play at the PAC.

It will be the first time he has played at Cal Poly in nearly 30 years.

Peter Wilt, program manager for Cal Poly Arts, said it has been difficult to get Costello to play at Cal Poly.

Cal Poly teamed up with other schools in the state like California State University, Chico and the University of California, Davis in order to be able to book him, Wilt said.

"We weren't offering him enough money and it's going to be a smaller show for him," Wilt said. "Since we were a group, we could offer him multiple shows and he finally found time to play here."

Director of Cal Poly Arts Steve Lerian said that Cal Poly and the community of San Luis Obispo are very fortunate to host a show of this magnitude.

"I'm sure he will include some of his older work," Lerian said. "But I would imagine he is more interested in singing and playing his newer compositions."

Costello has been making musk and touring with a wide variety of hands musicians and orchestras. He has performed with Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day. Armstrong, among other artists, was a part of an episode of VH1's Decades Rock Live television show which paid tribute to Costello in 2007. He and Costello performed songs by both Green Day and Costello.

Known for his work with bands the Attractions and the Imposters, Costello has been performing and writing music spanning many genres for more than three decades. His first single, "Less Than Zero," a politically-driven song lashing out against fascism, was released in 1977 by Stiff Records.

Costello once said he wrote the song about Oswald Mosley, a former fascist British politician who he called "despicable." The song gained some success in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Costello and one of his bands, the Attractions, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003.

Costello's fame has transcended into movies as well. He has appeared in the television show Frasier, movies such as Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. as well as Stephen Colbert's A Colbert Christmas.

Although he has appeared in both movies and television, Costello's musical career has certainly not come to an end. His latest album, Secret, Profane and Sugarcane debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at No. 13.

Lisa Woske, Cal Poly Arts public relations official, said she's excited to see Costello playing without a band.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him solo," Woske said. "It's an interesting way to see him, it's new and fresh."

Chris Hammer, 28, a resident of Santa Margarita, said he has been listening to Costello ever since he discovered one of his albums at a used record store.

"I had heard of him but didn't really know his music. I found a double disc of his hits that Rhino Records put out," Hammer said. "Every song on it was gold."

Hammer said he is looking forward to seeing how his live performances compare to his albums.

Hammer called Costello one of the most important artists that rock and roll has seen.

"I put him right up there with the Beatles," Hammer said. "He's not going up on stage and putting on something fake, it's a genuine thing. He's comfortable with who he is and he's true to himself and his songs. He's real rock and roll."

Tickets are available through the Performing Arts Center Ticket Office and range from $56 to $74. Doors for the show open tonight at 8 and Cal Poly Arts officials said they expect the show to sell out.

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Mustang Daily, April 12, 2010


John McCullough profiles Elvis Costello ahead of the concert, Monday, April 12, 2010, Cohan Performing Arts Center, San Luis Obispo, CA.

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