Slash, December 1977

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Elvis Costello / Backstage Pass

Whisky, Nov. 18


It was the usual opening night record co. sell-out, (ticket wise), but a bunch of us figured they could always squeeze in a few members of the press (there were only seven of us). We got in alright, but only because one of us was Cliff Weirdo (some clout Slash has). Inside Backstage Pass is halfway through their set, and although they received obligatory applause, they failed to move me (except towards the waitress for a double shot).

Half an hour later and Elvis appears: crewcut and conservative with a nice little three piece combo. I like him, nothing revolutionary, but the understated intensity he conveys starts to move me. After a couple of tunes I'm actually digging the guy! He's the stereotype of the nerd you went to school with (the guy with big glasses, teeth & zits, that was good with electronics and bad with girls) and somehow this imagery adds to his credibility. Elvis' is the no bullshit approach, he makes no attempt to win the audience with his charm or his energetic stage presence, just the essence of restrained (strained?) performing.

The boys on backup kept everything nice and tight (and equally understated) and Elvis just kept forcing his voice into the mike. While a couple of numbers didn't work, most of the set was really enjoyable (it was even kinda hip to hear a love song … nobody's all muscle).

I won't argue that Elvis is the new wave this or that, but I did walk out feeling good (which is one good criterion for judging a show), and what the fuck, at least the guys looked contemporary.


Slash, No. 6, December 1977

Slash reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions and opening act Backstage Pass, Friday, Nov. 18, 1977, Whisky a Go Go, Los Angeles.


1977-12-00 Slash page 23.jpg
Page scan.

Photographer unknown.
1977-12-00 Slash photo 01 px.jpg

1977-12-00 Slash cover.jpg 1977-12-00 Slash page 03.jpg
Cover and contents page.


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