Saturday, September 30, 2017

In tribute to a tribute

Back in May, the Guardian's Thomas Hobbs wrote a piece explaining "why Elvis's posthumous popularity is plummeting". He should really get himself along to an Elvana show.

I'll be honest - as someone who's been friends with members of the band for more than 20 years, I'm getting some serious vicarious pleasure from seeing them do so well. When we first met, they were performing in a Nirvana covers band - it's funny how these things come full circle (albeit with a twist).

Elvana have taken what might initially seem like a dumb idea - the sort of thing scrawled on the bag of a fag packet after far too many shandies - and thrown themselves into making it work. Their sound is perfect, the stage show is impeccably tight and frontman Paul plays the wayward Elvis/Kurt Cobain impersonator brilliantly, having developed a stand-up's sense of comic timing along the way.

Having caught the shows in Oxford and Birmingham last September, I had the pleasure of seeing them on the current tour in Nottingham (shamefully, my first ever visit to the Rescue Rooms). It was wonderful to watch them completely winning over an initially hesitant crowd and going down so well in another city close to my heart. There was something poetic about meeting up for a post-gig pint around the corner in the Horn In Hand, a venue at which two of them played back in 2006, in what now seems like a former life.

It's evident that Elvana's star is very much in the ascendancy, with ticket sales for the Oxford gig well over the 300 mark - a significant increase on last year, thanks no doubt in part to their show-stealing appearance at the Common People festival in May. They also won a lot of new friends at Camp Bestival in July, including (I gather) CBeebies' Mr Maker...

Far from resting on their laurels, though, they've already announced a new tour for next autumn, including (for the first time) a date here in Cardiff, at the Globe. What else might the future hold? An appearance at the Porthcawl Elvis Festival? A support slot for Foo Fighters? Watch this space.

In the meantime, though, tonight sees them playing their biggest show to date, upgraded to the main room at the Academy venue in their hometown of Newcastle. With a few surprises promised, it's gutting not to be there - but I know plenty of people who will.

Very best of luck, chaps. Take the roof off.

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