Sounds, June 27, 1987

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Sounds

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Sunday Muddy Sunday

Glastonbury Festival, Pilton Worthy Farm

Roy Wilkinson

Extract:

Saturday night festival

Today, serious guitars and serious guitar solos are out in force. From the time-distilled frettery of Richard Thompson to the clinically executed rock history styling of Pete Astor, handcrafted middle eights are nearly as common as the handcrafted jewellery.

Catching the end of a disappointing That Petrol Emotion performance, it's time for the inevitable worthy but dull set from Paul Brady and then The Woodentops who deal in a currency ideal for this festival — mix 'n' match, muesli-flavoured, designer skiffle.

Rolo, a uniformly uncharismatic, charmlessly affected frontman, marshalls his band like a dandified cubmaster but still you wonder how Woodentops music can be so much less than its component parts.

From Bennie Staples' drumming to Simon Mawby's wang barbarism, the components are immaculate yet their fusion leads to a wonderfully effervescent yet somehow edgeless music. The Woodentops have been designed meticulously and it shows.

Next we have an acid-fried, leather clad latterday cowboy who keeps a replica Colt permanently about his person, and this is only the bass player. The Weather Prophets' Greenwood Goulding is an arresting individual but, then again, the rest of the band have their characteristics too.

Peter Astor, clad in his period non-specific denim suit, and with his aviator shades and his ghostly complexion, has an air of cloistered lethargy about him. Yet even if he can't summon up much passion with his fleshless, perfunctory voice, he is prepared to wiggle about a bit while "coaxing" some "sterling work" out of his "Tele."

This is fine for half the time where songs like "Almost Prayed" and "Why Does The Rain" have the strength to carry them through, but when they've finished it gets to be a bit of a chore.

PS: the rain falls in nine out of ten Weather Prophets songs but it'd didn't fall once during their set! How ironic!!

"Tell us a joke you old trouper," scream the teeming masses. And he does.

In fact, there's not a lot that Mr Elvis Dynamite McManus Declan Costello Napolean Imposter Pop Pope I doesn't do.

Personifying the variety of his nomenclature, Costello is a past master in the VFM entertainment stakes. Whether eliciting some self-congratulatory politico-Pavlovian response from the crowd or reaching for his own or someone else's manifold songwriting talent, he knocks you back with his breadth of interest.

For the first hour and a half this shabby figure stands before a black backdrop, and with only his acoustic guitar and occasional beat box for protection, he knocks out song after song. From "Alison" to "Shipbuilding" to his tribute to the next day's king old bastard in Van Morrison's "Jackie Wilson Said," his scope is undeniable.

Not content with this, he then brings on The Attractions for a second set. Abba's "Knowing Me Knowing You," "Oliver's Army," "Less Than Zero," "Watching The Detectives" — all are wirily healthy. Hats off to Elvis, by any other name.

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Sounds, June 27, 1987


Roy Wilkinson reports on the Glastonbury Festival, June 19-21, including Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Saturday, June 20, 1987, Worthy Farm, Pilton, England.

Images

1987-06-27 Sounds pages 18-19.jpg
Page scans.

1987-06-27 Sounds cover.jpg
Cover.

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