Daily Kent Stater, August 18, 1982

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Versatile Costello mixes styles well as Attractions roll

David Slutzky

Elvis Costello and the Attractions' superb musical performance was not the only thing that made Sunday night's Music Hall show so entertaining — it was the group's friendly, affable and uncompromising attitude and concern for the audience that drew the crowd.

Costello and company — Bruce Thomas, bass; Steve Nieve, keyboards; and Pete Thomas, drums, raged through uptempo frenetics, weaved through slower ballads and sailed through some rhythm and blues, delivering a powerful and artistic set. The band played the bulk of their material from the latest Imperial Bedroom album, which has already been hailed as a critical masterpiece, as well as averaging about four songs per album from its seven previous releases.

For openers, the band surged into "Accidents Will Happen" and "Green Shirt," two songs from the Armed Forces album. From there, it scoped a wide range of material including a soulful and spontaneous rendition of the O'Jays' "Backstabbers."

The show was well paced throughout the two-hour performance (which included three encores). One minute Costello would be pouring his heart out during "Watch Your Step" or "Secondary Modern" only to re-channel his energy into a searing version of "Pump It Up" or "You Belong to Me."

Costello knew just how far to bring the energy down at the point where a mood change was required and knew just when to bring it back up.

As a singer, Costello is a man of many styles. Sunday night he proved that he can sing anything from an emotional and sincere love song like "Alison" to a violent retort like "Radio, Radio." And he was almost as talented at playing the guitar as he grinded out charged riffs that showed his maturity as a musician as well as a feeling vocalist.

The Attractions were all in fine form as well. Bruce Thomas' thumping bass lines and Pete Thomas' mechanically precise drumming laid down the framework for Nieve's weaving and harmonic keyboards. At times, the spotlight would shine on one of the members for a solo or intra-song accent.

The lighting for the concert is also worth mentioning, as it was used very tastefully. There were no extravagant set-ups but a few nice touches like blacking out the band members' figures and shining out blue spots during "Watching the Detectives."

What was perhaps most impressive was the way the band looked. It was having as good a time as the audience and wouldn't leave the stage until everyone was satisfied. During the encores, Costello would hold up his index finger, signaling a "One More?" look, just to make sure no one felt like leaving yet. Not that he really needed to.

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Summer Kent Stater, August 18, 1982

David Slutzky reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Sunday, August 15, 1982, Music Hall, Cleveland, Ohio.


1982-08-18 Daily Kent Stater page 10 clipping 01.jpg

Page scan.
1982-08-18 Daily Kent Stater page 10.jpg


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