Record Mirror, October 4, 1980

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Record Mirror


El's bells

Elvis Costello / Stray Cats / Rainbow, London

Mike Nicholls

A cute double-hander, a match made somewhere over the Rainbow, you might say. On one level both acts are hip, the Stray Cats' ersatz rockabilly dove-tailing neatly with Costello's continued cut-and-paste approach.

Whereas the Cats limit themselves to resurrecting a bygone age, Elvis dissect his influences and subtley re-assembles according to what he's into at the time. With a third of the set comprising new material, there are two possible directions for his next vinyl assault:

A side-step into classic sixties pop — "You'll Never Be A Man" was a dead ringer for Cilla Black's "Anyone Who Had A Heart" — or the heavy drum sound most recently defined by such habitues of New York's Power Station studios as Bowie, Springsteen and Roxy.

After the unusual intro of Elvis strumming over some solemn Steve Naive keyboard figures, some of the numbers were despatched with almost indecent haste. "The Beat" and "Temptation" maintained the lunatic pace set by "Luxembourg," the ferocious tightness of the band and Costello's good humour evidently a tribute to their recent lay off.

But it was with "Big Tears" that he at last showed he's the committed performer his records have always hinted at and from that point the show took off with a vengeance generally reserved for the victims of his songs.

The new "From A Whisper To A Scream" was an object lesson in optimism, full of zest and very punchy, whilst "Watching The Detectives," as ever, was a complete pulveriser, the sharp guitar and keyboard interplay cutting to the quick.

As if all this wasn't enough, he whacked out four encores which embraced swipes at Dexy's and The Jags! Altogether a fine 50th anniversary bash. The Stray Cats played with confidence and looked great but made everything sound the same. The Attractions have never gelled better and even those in two minds about Get Happy will have agreed he practiced as he preached.

The boy looked happy, the band played happy and the show was enough to restore anyone's faith in that tired old beast called rock 'n' roll. Amen.

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Record Mirror, October 4, 1980

Mike Nicholls reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions and opening act Stray Cats, Monday, September 29, 1980, Rainbow Theatre, London.

Record Mirror previews the Christmas show, December 27, 1980, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England.


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Photo by Denis O'Regan.
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Elvis' final

Record Mirror

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Elvis Costello will be making his final appearance of the year at the Birmingham Exhibition Centre on December 27.

This is the venue's first major rock show and also on the bill will be UB40 and Rockpile. Negotiations are underway for other acts and the gig will start at 6 pm.

Tickets priced £5.50 are currently available by post from Elvis Costello Box Office, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. Telephone 021 780 2516. Plans are underway for British Rail to lay on special train services to Birmingham for the show.

The Rockpile date at London's Hammersmith Palais has been changed from October 26 to November 2. Tickets priced £1.25 are available from the box office.

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Cover and page scans.


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