Record Mirror, August 6, 1977

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Record Mirror


Elvis Costello

Hope and Anchor

Nick Charles

Of all the publicity stunts this year, none has been more amusing or successful than the transformation of the humble D. P. Costello into the mighty Elvis.

Unlike most stunts it succeeded because it was based on solid ground. Elvis Costello might look like the fourth form runt that always got beat up but he can turn out witty songs with uncanny ease.

The Hope and Anchor was an eminently suitable choice of venue for his second (announced) appearance in London. His style of short sweet melodies meshed with sparse, restrained arrangements and playing have a lot in common with some of the ideals of other bands that have emerged from the London pub circuit.

As well as having the same sort of non-voice as Graham Parker (which doesn't mean he can't convey emotion just that he's not too good at hitting the right notes), his songs have the same roots in R and B and mid-Sixties pop. Unlike Parker, he's never raucous and his songs have real lyrical substance. He's almost as deft at the snappy zen one-liner as the master himself, Nick Lowe.

Not that he'll ever make it as a pop star. Unless, by some quirk of fate the bank clerk look sweeps the nation and he and his band suddenly find themselves at the pinnacle of fashion. He's also too tasteful, too diffident to make it as a teen idol. He seemed to delight in the tacky atmosphere of the Hope, drawing enjoyment from the crowd and injecting it back into his songs, often giving them a depth and immediacy they don't always have on record.

He started slowly, testing the audience with some of his more fragmentary tunes "Welcome To The Working Week" and "Pay It Back" and worked up carefully to the more rumbustious qualities of the likes of "Waiting For The End Of The World." An object lesson in how to structure a set.

Apart from looking just like him, his band (Peter Thomas, drums; Bruce Thomas, bass; Steve Mason, keyboards) had the same understanding of that famous maxim, the less you play, the more there is. A triumph of musical understatement.

He's no new genius but who is?

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Record Mirror, August 6, 1977

Nick Charles reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Wednesday, July 27, 1977, Hope And Anchor, London, England.

Upfront lists four concerts (three later canceled): Thursday, August 4, Mr. George's, Coventry; Friday, August 5, Rock Garden, Middlesbrough; Saturday, August 6, Traceys, Redditch; and Sunday, August 7, The Nashville, London.

My Aim Is True is No. 50 on the album chart (page 2.)


1977-08-06 Record Mirror page 17 clipping 01.jpg1977-08-06 Record Mirror page 16 clipping 01.jpg


Record Mirror

Heartthrob Elvis Costello, backed by the Attractions, is currently mid-tour and all-set to shake some action at selected club venues, including Coventry Mr. George's (Thursday), Middlesbrough Rock Garden (Friday) and London's Nashville (Sunday).

More punk on the road from the Models, Darts, XTC, and the Step Forward package featuring Chelsea and Cortinas, which moves on to Cardiff Top Rank (Friday) and Manchester Electric Circus (Sunday).

Glasgow gets its first mini-punkfest (Thursday), when local lads, Rev Oltings, Backstabbers, Cuban Heels, Exiles, Joly and Johnny & The self Abusers make good at the Dreamland Cinema. Unless the set is cancelled of course.

Mainstream rockola mare to your taste? The Kursaals are currently doing the rounds... and to cater for the bash-yer-'ead against the nearest stone wall brigade, the one 'n' only Motorhead play on, supported by the Count Bishops.

Listing extracts:

Coventry, Mr Georges (27529), Elvis Costello

Middlesbrough, Rock Garden (241995), Elvis Costello

Redditch, Traceys (61160), Elvis Costello

London, Nashville (01-603 6071), Elvis Costello, Slack Alice

Cover and page scans.
1977-08-06 Record Mirror cover.jpg 1977-08-06 Record Mirror page 17.jpg 1977-08-06 Record Mirror page 02.jpg


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