Shouts of 'Elvis is King' filled Armadillo World Head quarters Wednesday night as Elvis Costello brought his own brand of raw, honest British rock 'n' roll music to Austin, the first city on his long awaited tour.
Elvis Costello and the Attractions raised the crowd and kept all but those too stoned to stand on their feet throughout the entire concert.
In the last few months, Costello has risen from an unknown to one of the hottest new artists on the music scene. His My Aim Is True album, released through CBS Records in the United States, has garnered much attention and praise from critics and the record-buying public.
Costello's distinguishing characteristics are his uncanny knack for musical hooks and his clever lyrics. Performances on the LP are devastating enough, but coupled with the strained movements and piercing expressions of the artist on stage, the songs gained a new vibrancy.
Opening with "Welcome to the Working Week," Costello and band ran through most of the album plus many new tunes which should be on a new LP.
The show reached a crescendo with the third song "(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes," when the hand relaxed and let loose with the full fury of Costello's compositions.
Costello's current single release, "Alison," stoked poignant ecstasy from the crowd with the inclusion of the lilting tones of a grand piano and Costello's raspy biting vocal.
Costello, rumored to be rather abrupt in his dealings with the public, readily spoke to the audience and shared their beer between numbers. In introducing "Radio, Radio," he commented haven't listened to much radio here in Austin, but if it's like it is in the rest of America and England it's no good. We're doing our best to change that." His fans wholeheartedly agreed.
One of his most popular songs "Mystery Dance" closed the show but not without two encores of new songs.
Although he is often criticised for his awkward movements, Costello's idiosyncracies serve to promulgate the mystique of this unique artist. His backup band was well rehearsed and impeccable and their enthusiasm about being here enhanced their stimulating performance.
Although the other band members are very punkoidal in manner and dress, Costello himself projects an "alcodelic" style — a blending of alcohol and psychedelic music.