Record Business, March 27, 1978

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Record Business

UK & Ireland magazines


Costello beats Belfast as tour takes off

David Redshaw

Elvis Costello / Ulster Hall, Belfast

A set of untypical circumstances combined to cloud objective views of this gig. Firstly, Ulster Hall is, along with many provincial civic halls, acoustically appalling. Secondly, the four encores that Costello scored seem impressive enough — until one is told by the locals that most acts in Belfast these days rate that sort of reception. Indeed, the only other big names that appear to have played recently are Gallagher and Lyle.

But allowing for these factors, one can perhaps make encouraging deductions. True, the sound echoed all round the coldly baroque concert hall but behind it all The Attractions sounded to be playing very solidly. Their whole sound is a dry, well-defined one (the reason presumably why they come over so well on record) and it's probably fair to say that had they had an acoustically better venue they'd have sounded really impressive.

It took some time for the gig to warm up. On the third number some leather-jacketed youths raced on stage and shouted something into the mics before being collared. The resulting tension took a couple of numbers to dissolve although it was later discovered that the intruders were not political but merely a local punk band seeking publicity. But as the gig wore on Costello's intelligent, edgy, new wave music won through.

His bigger numbers were greeted with cheers of recognition and by "Pump It Up" towards the end, the whole hall was chair-borne and waving. He could still use more obvious visual projection but this did not worry Belfast. The encores consisted of danceable rock 'n' roll and the audience would have danced all night given the chance. It would be nice to hear the band at a better venue and to see the singer projecting more. In such circumstances the experience might prove very rewarding. A promising start to a month of touring though.

Artist: Elvis Costello
Venue: Ulster Hall, Belfast
Capacity: 1,400
Date: Friday, March 17
Tickets: £3 to £2.50
Audience: 16 to mid-20s. About ¼ punks

Tags: Ulster HallBelfastNorthern IrelandThe AttractionsPump It Up


Record Business, March 27, 1978

David Redshaw reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Friday, March 17, 1978, Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland.


1978-03-27 Record Business page 27.jpg
Page scan.

1978-03-27 Record Business cover.jpg


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