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- Apollo, Manchester »
- Elvis Costello »
Fuck! Elvis lives. Making middle age seem like a healthy proposition this Elvis is as wired and fantastic as ever- mule whipping a stripped down mean as fuck band into splenetic tight power garage rock riffola. The sole survivor of punk's parallel Stiff records power pop scene that also featured Ian Dury and Nick Lowe- Elvis sounds almost exactly as he did quarter of a century ago- and thats no bad thing if you want your pop laced with venom and intelligence. The bitterness and the bile that always underlined his best moments is still there- spitting its way through the wired tight riffs and the stripped pithy tense song writing that has always been Costello at his best.
Elvis Costello is, oddly, so 2002- flush from hitting the top twenty in the USA with his current album- a return to form back to the garage workout that oddly sounds more contemporary than ever In a music scene when garage rock has suddenly become viciously de rigour its great to see an old master playing it for real, not as a tongue in cheek ironic take on the form or a bunch of catwalk luvvies from the big apple faking it- y’know sometimes a balding sweaty old man armed with a guitar can still wipe the floor with da kidz.
There are of course soggy bits when it goes on too long but when he kicks in with the hits it does sound rather wonderful. There may be a rule in rock n roll that you have to butt out when you get too old but if you manage to retain half a much aggression, passion and intelligence as Elvis when your head butting the big 5-0 then you fully deserve your place in the Apollo’s.
With killa renditions of ‘Watching the detectives’ and 'I Don't Wanna Go To Chelsea’ sounding as bang up to date as the day they were intensely penned you wonder whether music stood still or of this Elvis avoided the burger self indulgent hell of his namesake and just got on with documenting the small things that fuck us up in life with a mean eye and a sharp mind. Elvis has managed to make it outside the other side of the pop wall and into the surviving on your own terms world of fuck fashion and cool and all those shite constrictors that have always wrecked British music.
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