Largo in Los Angeles hosted on January 18, 2020 by Harriet Kaplan

The Steve Nieve plays Elvis Costello Show at Largo in Los Angeles in January had a lot of great things going for it: mainly wonderful and legendary songs and a number of talented musicians that showed up to perform. Included in the show lineup were Benchmont Tench, a founding member of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Joe Sumner and the band members from the Attractions and Imposters, vocalist Jenni Muldaur and Paris-based singer AJUQ.

The emotionally moving and passionate performance, was headed by the well-known pianist, songwriter, composer and member of Elvis Costello’s Imposters and Attractions, Steve Nieve. Paying homage to an artist considered one of the most evocative, innovative and gifted songwriters since Bob Dylan, Costello’s material offer personal takes on love and politics. Jenni Muldaur gave a great reading and treatment that was edgy, quirky and eccentric on “Indoor Fireworks” and “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror.”

AJUQ is technically a good vocalist, but just way too vanilla and mainstream to give Elvis Costello songs their true credence, justice, bent and substance. The tall and very handsome singer seemed nervous and tentative performing the material. AJUQ seemed completely out of his depth and he was ill suited to perform the lyrically complex numbers. AJUQ had more of a minor singing role as part of the chorus on the all-star jam featuring the performers on the bill for the rousing “Oliver’s Army,” “Pump It Up,” and energized and inspired “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Love and Understanding.”

Benchmont Tench poignantly sang “Learning To Fly” and “American Girl” while reminiscing between songs to briefly share with the audience how many years he played and toured with the late Tom Petty and how deep and hard the loss continues to be for him and the rest of The Heartbreakers.

The show also showcased musical themes from Nieve’s piano solo records: “Keyboard Jungle,” “It’s Raining Somewhere,” “Windows,” and “ “Welcome To The Voice.” Nieve, whose vocals recall the offbeat, raw and burnished style of Leonard Cohen, offered up his witty slice of life musings residing in Paris and ruminating on love and lust in “Englishman In St. Germain” and “Muriel Wishes.”

The Loved Ones
The Birds Will Still Be Singing
Englishman in St Germain
Muriel Wishes
Country Darkness
April 15th
Mr Lonely
Tous Le Jours
Let Go
Passionate Fight
Jenny Wren
Indoor Fireworks
Deep Dark Truthful Mirror
Learning to Fly
American Girl
He’s Given Me Things
Oliver’s Army
Pump It Up
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding

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