Record Mirror, April 12, 1980

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Record Mirror


Elvis in Ayr-raid

Elvis Costello & The Attractions / Ayr Pavilion

Billy Sloan

It's the dancehall scene from the film Billy Liar, only there's no busty brunette belting out "Twisterella." The hall is cold, damp, dated.

The young lovers on the floor wait in expectation as the dance band leader slopes up to the mike and clutches it with reverence. His name is Elvis Costello.

A hand brushes his forehead in mock sensitivity as he becomes Johnnie Ray, or is it Ross MacManus? Guitar cradled in his arms, he squeezes out the vocal with flair and finesse.

Get Happy!! through its volume and variety still remains a collection of lines and tunes rather than titles and ideas. A modern interpretation of sixties moods and styles — seedy, seafront dance parlours are the perfect setting for it.

The band play a song called "The Beat," which has a drum sound like it's being pounded out on the back of your neck.

They look like refugees from an end of term, youth club dance.

Organist Steve Naive is allowed far more flexibility than before. It's surprising just how often his hands attack the length and breadth of his as keyboard rather than picking out pre-conceived, snappy runs. It's even more surprising how a fusion of both works brilliantly, becoming some of the set's many highlights.

The rhythm section is as unspectactular and effective as ever. Drummer Pete Thomas rarely strays from laying down basic beats all night — all that's required really. The unfortunate fact that bassist Bruce Thomas looks like one of The Korgis is the only indication that flower power is a thing of the past instead of a forthcoming attraction.

"Goon Squad" is chilling, galloping fast and furious. When Costello fluffs the lyric he can only flounder helplessly and await the next couplet in the hope of getting back on board.

While "Temptation" is a Booker T out-take set to a modern verse — only marred when the singer ducks the vocal range. But it's over quickly anyway and we're soon on to the next, which is "Lipstick Vogue."

Costello looks menacing in the semi-darkness, spitting out lines which slash their way into your head with venom.

The encore contains the single new number "One More Heartache" — a beefy R&B stomp with some deft Hank Marvin lead work — and the thunder beat of "Pump It Up" — one of the closing refrains.

Tags: Ayr PavilionAyrScotlandThe AttractionsRoss MacManusGet Happy!!The BeatPete ThomasBruce ThomasGoon SquadTemptationBooker T. & the M.G.'sLipstick VogueOne More HeartachePump It Up

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Record Mirror, April 12, 1980

Billy Sloan reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Monday, March 24, 1980, Ayr Pavilion, Ayr, Scotland.

Get Happy!! is No. 22 on the album chart (page 46.).


1980-04-12 Record Mirror page 39 clipping 01.jpg

Cover and page scans.
1980-04-12 Record Mirror cover.jpg 1980-04-12 Record Mirror page 39.jpg 1980-04-12 Record Mirror page 46.jpg


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