Melody Maker, April 15, 1978

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Melody Maker


Elvis bassist Thomas hurt

Melody Maker

Elvis Costello has had to re-think his current British tour following a severe injury to bass player Bruce Thomas' right hand.

Costello's producer Nick Lowe stood in on bass the night after the accident at Manchester Rafters on Saturday, but European commitments left it unsure whether he would be able to stay with Costello's band.

At the time of going to press, Costello's shows at Birmingham on Thursday and Friday this week may have to be cancelled, but the Saturday and Sunday night concerts at London's Roundhouse are definitely on, with Costello performing several acoustic numbers followed by the Attractions with a deputy bass player. Two days later, the band start an American tour in Minneapolis.

An announcement this week on behalf of Costello said that anyone with a ticket who does not want to attend the "experimental" show can get a £3 refund — £2 ticket price plus £1 travelling costs — from the box office, and any returned tickets will be sold at £1 on the night.

A replacement bass player is currently being sought by the band to replace Thomas, who had 18 stitches in his hand after an accident with a broken bottle in the dressing room at Manchester Rafters, but Costello emphasised that as soon as Thomas is fit he will be back in the band.

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Elvis Costello And The Attractions

The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London

Melody Maker

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Saturday, April 15, Sunday, April 16. Sold out. Concert starts at 5.30 p.m. Supporting are Mickey Jupp Band and Whirlwind. There are still some critics unconvinced of Elvis' talent, and of the quality of his songwriting. Boo, to them. We've yet to hear of anyone who's caught Costello and the Attractions on this British tour who hasn't staggered away completely fazed by the intensity of the group's performances. You'll be there, of course.

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The Raver: Elvis Costello in Devon

The Raver

Extracts, in EC order:

Here comes the weekly Elvis Costello bit. Despite his current popularity, Elvis went to Devon recently to play at a wedding. Apparently, the bride had given Elvis her barn to practise in when the boy was in dire straits without a penny to his name. The deal was that he would play at her wedding and he honoured the agreement ... Any truth in the rumour that Nick Lowe is on the verge of splitting up?

Will Birch's Records made an auspicious London debut at the Hope And Anchor last week. Nick Lowe (stealing some riff perhaps?) and Jake Riviera turned out, as well as Radar Records execs. We're tipping Radar to nip in and sign the boys ... Tom Verlaine tells us he wants English engineer John Woods to work on Television's next album. Verlaine is a great admirer of Woods' work with John Cale, the Incredible String Band and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and is hoping that he will engineer a projected live album to be recorded at Hammersmith Odeon this weekend.

Sorry, Glen, but we're not telling: — A puzzled Glen Colson frantically attempted to find out how we got our hands on Parkerilla, the Graham Parker live album, last week. The album's not due out for another three weeks. Talking of the GP and the Rumour, any truth in the rumour that Martin Belmont is leaving to pursue a solo career? We hear that he plans to do a Nick Lowe (whatever that means). Also, the band very upset by what they claim is erroneous review in Belfast last week ... Chrysalis have abbreviated the title of the next Blondie single. Conscious that it would be a bit of a mouthful for the illiterates down at Broadcasting House, "(I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence (Dear)" has been shortened to "Presence (Dear)" Talking of the Beeb, Peter Powell is the man who boasts about playing Brian And Michael's single, "Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs," first.

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Melody Maker, April 15, 1978

Melody Maker reports on Bruce Thomas' hand injury.

Mailbag has a report on the Elvis Costello concert, Saturday, April 1, 1978, Bracknell.

The Raver notes EC's performance at the Sue Barber wedding, January 21, Davidstow.

Melody Maker previews EC's Roundhouse concerts, April 15 & 16, London.

Elvis Costello is mentioned in Allan Jones' interview with Tom Verlaine.


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To pogo or not to pogo

G.P. Houlden

Last Saturday night I went to see Elvis Costello at Bracknell. He and the Attractions were tremendous, if far too loud for comfort and clarity.

However, we all knew he would be great and this does not warrant the effort of me sitting down and scrawling on paper. The audience does!

I am a boring old fart of 24, have been to many concerts over the last eight years or so and have never come across a crowd like it.

Normally at concerts when people are standing and dancing, it tends to be hot, crowded and vaguely uncomfortable. Furthermore, the attitude, as a rule, is one of "be nice to people and they'll be nice to you." There is a cheerful atmosphere built on camaraderie in adverse circumstances. Not this time.

The Mickey Jupp Band were support and while they were playing, those of us at the front had a good view and could dance happily if we chose to.

As soon as the band filed off, however, all the Elvis Costello fans started to push forwards and in at the side so that we barely had room to breathe and were gradually forced backwards by weight of numbers of totally selfish and inconsiderate schoolkid punks.

Then the pogoing commenced and I noticed several interesting things about it. Firstly, it seems to have nothing at all to do with dancing; it is more an expression of hipness, to use an old expression.

Due to its nature, it is a very exerting way of passing one's time. This means that at the start everyone pogos madly until they get knackered.

Then they gradually stop, have a rest and then look around them anxiously until one brave boy gives a half-hearted leap. This seems to fill them all with confidence and they all set off again. Very strange.

However, you'll be pleased to know that pogoing does have a practical use and that is getting to the front, even when you have come in late.

The theory is, I suppose, that if one takes a run up and leaps forward into the air it is easier to push a body aside and get in front of it, especially if the object body is also in mid-air at the time. If it is not, it soon steps backwards to examine its blackening toenails through its Hush Puppies when one lands on its toes.

This constant pushing and damaging of other people's bodies does not lend itself to an atmosphere of conviviality.

Anyway, both bands were great and a bargain at £1.80, so well done, Elvis, Mickey and the tour organisers. But that audience...!

— G.P. Houlden, Calder Court, Maidenhead, Berks.

LP winner.

Television commentary

Allan Jones

Tom Verlaine talks to Allan Jones

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June, last year; the exact date eludes me. Tom Verlaine is stacked like an anorexic bookend against the wall of a bleak room, backstage somewhere in the belly of the Colston Hall in Bristol. It is the last night of Television's first British tour.

His eyes betray his fatigue. Clearly, he's in no mood for celebration. He tears the filter tip from a Lucky Strike — or were they Winstons? — and winces as the dull thunder of Blondie, winding up for the climax of their support set, penetrates with a thin, violent edge the whitewashed brick and flaking plaster of this temporary sanctuary.

The room is coughing already, its lungs filled with smoke and the air stained with nicotine, as he nervously lights another cigarette.

The conversation, like Richard Hell's notion of love, comes in spurts: fragments of sentences and thoughts and vague ideas taking slow shape in the patterns of his speech.

We arrived at the prospect of Television's second album, upon which, he promises, he will begin work when the band return to New York.

"I've no clear idea of it," he muses. "I keep thinking in terms of... like, atmospheres. It'll be different, I think, but I don't know for sure yet, you know. I can't see it yet... I mean, we haven't started writing for it or anything... I think we might go for a more spacious kind of sound maybe...

"I think art has a lot to do with, like atmosphere, sensations... feelings that are maybe more than emotions. I don't know how to explain it... these are just, like, thoughts I'm having about one possible direction we might follow. I don't know that people will understand it."

He was laughing quietly to himself at the time.

"I think there's a lot of fucked up people writing about music. Like, these people are supposed to be music critics, and they're just stupid. It's ridiculous what some of them have written.

"These reviews I've read, they weren't like music reviews. They seemed like some other kind of review I've never encountered before. They're unbelievably funny, you know. So predictable. So obvious.

"There're very few critics who ever get it right. They just don't seem to go on musical grounds. That's what upsets me. They're not critics. They're not writers. They're plain stupid."

Verlaine is dressed for the garret in New York bohemian threads. Too haphazardly decked for fashion, he has the look of an impoverished student nursing dreams of literary glory. The image here, in his dishevelled tee-shirt, shapeless cord pants and working boots, of the artistic figure he might perhaps have idealised in his romantic reveries a decade past in the parochial backwaters of Delaware, from which he was so determined to escape.

He looks well, despite his ghostly pallor, if not bursting with robust health. He is most commonly described as boyish — mention is usually made of his cropped blond hair — but there is a patrician maturity, even if he is amusingly prone to infectious giggles when confronted with specific analysis of his work.

He is always reluctant to advance any exaggerated claims.

"I don't understand those songs, either," he will say evasively. "These things just come to me, you know... and I know they're right for me. They do something to me that makes me want to sing them. I can't really talk about the content of those songs. It's not like talking about what you have in your living room, or something like that. It might seem to be like that, but it's

continued overleaf

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