With less than half the year gone 1977 has already provided an extraordinary brace of memorable concerts: Lou Reed and Emmylou provided some stunning moments in Europe; then there were the Kinks, Ry Cooder, Bryan Ferry and Peter Gabriel and Louis, again, all of whom played major concerts in London.
Further, incidental delights have included pub appearances by Otway & Barrett and Clayson & The Argonauts and the Kursaal Flyers. Heading the list thus far, though, are Television in Glasgow and Graham Parker & the Rumour at the Rainbow, a concert so full of thrills and excitement that I was coasting on the vibe for a week after the event.
It was inevitable that a band of the Rumour's class and talent (their contribution to Parker's phenomenal success is incalculable) would desire to expand their scope of action and take in a few appearances without their leader — an album by the group has been planned for some time. To London's Nashville, then, on Friday evening for the first of the Rumour's two-night residency at the venue, and a gig that proved to be no less enjoyable than any of the large-scale events mentioned above.
I mean, the boozy intimacy of the Nashville is a perfect atmosphere for the kind of extrovert music at which the Rumour, with ail their skill, instrumental finesse and good humour, excel.
The night began with a surprising bonus: the unscheduled appearance of the very wonderful Elvis Costello. No band, not even a rhythm section: just Elvis, his electric guitar and his songs and his voice. Both the latter components are uncannily reminiscent of Graham Parker — like GP, his compositions deal fiercely with various re4ationships and being on the losing end of affairs — but he has a musical identity of his own that promises much for the future; and if I don't have "Mystery Dance" and "I'm Not Angry" on a platter before the end of the month I'll be around to Stiff with a squadron of stormtroopers looking for the head of Jake Riviera. Elvis Costello spells Major New Talent. You'd better believe it.