Solo Elvis Costello shows that his aim is still true

Belfast Telegraph: Michael Conaghan: 18th October 2014.

Despite having one of the world's niftier rock 'n' roll combos in the Imposters, Elvis Costello likes to do a turn on his own now and then.

Belfast has always been one of the more welcoming venues for his solo jaunts, being partial to a good old knees-up and an act not afraid to swap bon mots with the wags in the crowd.

Here Costello can both wallow in his great entertainer persona, while allowing the songs, as Eric Cantona might have put it "to live and to breathe".

And what tunes they are. It takes a confident songwriter to open with a couple of relatively obscure album tracks and hook an audience immediately, but for the knowledgeable fan it was a treat to hear Jack Of All Parades or a punked up version of Green Shirt.

The voice was a little rough at times but he has developed a guitar style that, with the help of a range of effects pedals, he can wrench some extraordinary sounds, most dramatically on Watching The Detectives.

But it wasn't all film noir intensity. Costello dispensed family-based anecdotes with practised ease, his late trumpet-playing father never far from his mind.

From him he received a musical education which has made him a master of the 20th century pop idiom.

A stunning Shipbuilding had a 'here we go again' wistfulness, and there was new material on offer, including a song which he claimed to have finished "in the taxi on the way from the airport".

It was great too.