Elvis Costello @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh
With only six guitars and a piano for support and wearing an outfit not too dissimilar from a wise guy in the prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire, Elvis Costello’s generation hopping journey through his sprawling back catalogue was as intimate an affair as you can get in a sold out hall of over 2,000 people.
A two-and-a-half hour setlist which covered everything from Veronica to Oliver’s Army and Watching The Detectives to his most recent song, The Last Year of My Youth, was punctuated with humour and reminiscence, as Costello explored the working class roots and styles behind his own brand of music. He fashioned us with personal stories of playing his first gig with his orchestra singer father and of his grandfather’s life as a musician on the vast cruise ships of the twenties - “the Olympic, the Majestic, basically all the ic’s” - before the Great Depression struck.
Sitting two rows from one of the true greats of British music was an incredible experience; a real joy watching the versatility of his craft as he went from acoustic guitar to piano and back again, even introducing an electric guitar in the second encore where (What’s so Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding brought the entire hall to its feet.
So Ryan Adams has added Dublin to his 2015 European tour. That is looking extremely tempting.
You+Me - Open Door
Dallas Green and Alecia Moore should really just repopulate the earth with beautiful voiced and tattooed babies.
Really digging the quotes from Sir Walter Scott’s works around Waverley Station. I just wish that I had more time/was less hungover to go and explore them all.
It seems the dying are the only ones that really know how to live
I have been immersed in this album all week; the harmonies between Dallas and Alecia are so beautiful. It’s like they were made to collaborate, like milk and honey or whisky and ginger, or beer and nuts!
Ordinarily by now I would have written up a review of the Hold Steady gig at The Garage on Wednesday night; but it turns out I have very little recollection of the show at all. I was feeling pretty fluey all day, and I think that probably contributed to it. The gig was also an early start on account of the club venue, meaning I went out to eat earlier than I might and so also began drinking earlier.
So I had a few beers before heading up to Burger Meats Bun, as is my wont when in Glasgow. I truly can’t write enough good things about them and their food, and the venison and haggis (“Dear Autumn”) special burger was perhaps the best I’ve had in there to date. And the staff are just tremendous. I’m sure I’ve mentioned the increasingly tumultuous crush I’ve developed on one of the waitresses, and then Wednesday was the first time in a few months I’d seen Johnny the barman, so I basically spent a couple of hours sitting at the bar drinking pint after pint of their delightfully hoppy West Brewery Munich Red and talking to Johnny. He’d been tweeting Gary Russell from The Hold Steady all day and he was talking about coming along for something to eat pre-gig, so Johnny promised to send him my way when he came in. Unfortunately it transpired that he was already sitting in the joint when I was there and had left before either of us knew.
Johnny gave me a pretty convincing talk on why I should follow the desire I sort of have to move to Glasgow once I’m made redundant at the end of November. I must admit that I’m contemplating it quite heavily.
So I left BMB around 7.45, with The Hold Steady due on at 8pm. Turns out they weren’t on until maybe 8.30, but the only drink I could physically manage at the venue was a pint of water. Seriously. I was fucking ill. I can remember them starting with Positive Jam, and I have very vague recollections of snippets of other songs, and I heard Killer Parties to close the set. But that’s it. That’s all I can remember.
Damn good beer, though.
@chuckragan. King Tuts. the day before our first wedding anniversary. it’s almost like he knew…thank you, Chuck.
God damn, I arrive back in the country from New York on the 20th…but I fancy a wee road trip up to Inverness might be in order for this!
If she happens to suggest a love based on trust and respect
Tell her I’ve been wasted since last week
Really looking forward to tomorrow’s Hold Steady gig for many reasons, but two stand out in particular:
1) I’m pretty thrilled that it has been moved up the street to The Garage (presumably due to slow ticket sales?) The smaller and more intimate venue should make for a much more intense rock show. The ABC is alright, and The Hold Steady killed it there in May, but The Garage should be spectacular.
2) It is impossible to guess exactly what the setlist will be because it has been changing so much every night on the European tour, which is super exciting. They opened with Ask Her For Adderall in Birmingham last night! If I could make one request it would be for Certain Songs. That hasn’t featured on the tour yet. But I have a feeling that whatever they play tomorrow it will be a killer party.