Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Belle & Sebastian cover Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s almost laughable how Belle & Sebastian spent the first part of its career shrouded in mystery and eschewing live performance because as anyone who’s ever seen the Scots onstage can attest, they are no wallflowers. Both Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson are fine frontmen, charismatic in their own ways and perfect foils for one another and they’re a very tight and polished musical group, prone to spontaneous covers that, for how off the cuff they seem to be, generally come off much better than they should.

I recall their 2003 Toronto show at Massey Hall where during a break between songs, an audience member called out a request for the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and rather than shrug it off, they actually started to jam it out and before you knew it, they were covering it and doing it pretty dam well. I can imagine that’s how this Elvis Costello cover came about, considering how initially hesitant they are going into it but then pulling it off with goofy gusto.

With B&S on indefinite hiatus, Stuart Murdoch will be releasing the album from his God Help The Girl project on June 23 and while B&S fans will no doubt find much to enjoy in it, it doesn’t quite manage to fill that Belle & Sebastian-shaped hole in this indie kid’s soul. Elvis Costello, on the other hand, never really goes away even when he says he’s going away. He releases his second album in as many years this week with Secret, Profane & Sugarcane and will play Massey Hall on August 28. I will bet that if someone calls out a request for, “I Want You Back”, Declan will ignore it.

I miss Belle & Sebastian.

MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Oliver’s Army”
Video: Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “Oliver’s Army”

By : Frank Yang at 9:31 am
Category: Chromewaves Radio

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RSS Feed for this post3 Responses.
  1. Fred says:

    I once DJed with B&S drummer Rico. After the night was over we started talking and I showed him all the B&S covers I had on my iPod. He said that when they do a cover it is usually city specific, like if they were playing Liverpool, they would do a Beatles cover. Also they learn the cover during soundcheck and if they don’t by then, they don’t play it.

  2. sheila sampath says:

    Hi Frank: I’ll be playing a show with Stevie from B&S next week, along with members of the Hidden Cameras and a guest appearance by Owen from Final Fantasy. Stevie’s been working on some amazing solo work, and his Toronto pals are thrilled to be able to support him. We’re playing the 11th, at the Imperial Pub. It’s a tiny venue, but it’s really just a glorified jam session, so we’d like to keep it intimate. Please do come out, it’d be great to see you! xo

  3. Frank Yang says:

    Hi Sheila – I saw the Facebook event and definitely intend to be there, sounds very cool!