South Wales Argus, November 8, 1994

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South Wales Argus

Newspapers
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Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Newport Centre

Kevin Ward

It's eighteen years since Elvis Costello first burst on to the rock scene with the immaculate My Aim Is True — and at times last night it was like being back in the first days of punk/new wave.

Britain's best songwriter of the last twenty years is back with the original Attractions on this tour — the first time they've played together since 1987's Blood and Chocolate album.

And the band are still as sharp as a slap in the face.

With a repertoire larger than the combined ages of the Rolling Stones, Costello could probably play a week at the Centre and not play the same song twice.

His set choice, therefore, never fails to surprise.

Last night he was obviously in rock 'n' roll mood as he blended tracks from the new Brutal Youth album with early belters like "Pump It Up," "Radio Radio" and "I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea."

Highlights for me were a high-octane version of "Beyond Belief" and a spine-tingling "Shipbuilding."

It was almost as if the Attractions had never been away from their boss. Steve Nieve was manic behind the keyboards, Pete Thomas played the drums with a permanent grin, and Bruce Thomas looked as miserable as sin. But then it was ever thus for the bassman.

The one disappointment of the night for me was that the gig was far from a sell-out.

When you consider the debt British pop music owes Costello, I find it amazing that he can't sell out a place like the Newport Centre.

Still, if you weren't there you've only got yourself to blame.

A stunning night from the only Elvis who deserves the king of rock title.


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South Wales Argus, November 8, 1994


Kevin Ward reviews Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Monday, November 7, 1994, Newport Centre, Newport, Wales.

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