Double Trouble: Mike Albert and Scot Bruce (above) represent two different eras of Elvis Presley’s legacy, as the King’s eleventh annual Birthday Bash returns to the Basie on Friday night…while Elvis Costello (below) is in concert and on screen for a Thursday night showing of his “live” film DETOUR.
As Scot Bruce tells it, Red Bank is “a great place to play;” the kind of town in which “The King is alive and well.” The veteran entertainer ought to know, since he makes it a point every year at this time to pull the tour bus up to the Count Basie Theatre for one of the greater Green’s most cherished winter rituals — the Elvis Birthday Bash, the eleventh annual edition of which takes to the Basie boards this Friday, January 15.
Before Taking Care of THAT Business, however, the Count’s crib makes room for an Elvis of another time and place: Elvis Costello, the Brit-born singer and songsmith who’s matured into a musicologist of remarkable depth and staying power, since exploding onto the scene as a bespectacled and attitude-infused punk-era troubador in 1977. The artist formerly known as Declan McManus (who’s made multiple in-person visits to the Monmouth Street landmark, as has his jazz-chanteuse spouse Diana Krall) will appear this time on the screen, during an exclusive area exhibit of the new concert film Detour: Live At the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall this Thursday, January 14. Recorded during a hometown stop on his recent international tour, the 100 minute feature shows Costello in an intimate “living room” setting; accompanied by guitar, piano and occasional ukelele (plus framed by projected images of vintage family photos).
It’s a format that finds the boy from Beatletown “digging deep into his catalogue” for items ranging from the familiar (“Watching The Detectives;” “Alison;” “Accidents Will Happen”) to the forgotten; , revisting collaborations with the likes of Paul McCartney, and covering personal favorites by Sam and Dave, Charles Aznavour, Bob Dylan and more — in between regaling the audience with stories about his earliest memories, the origins of his music, and life on the rock-star road. Tickets to the 7 pm Thursday screening are priced at $10 (or free with membership in the Count Basie Cinema Society), and are available right here.
Last Friday, January 8 marked the 81st birthday of the shy country boy who emerged from Tupelo, MS to change the course of mighty pop-cultural rivers — and, just as they do with Jersey’s own Frank Sinatra each December, the folks at the Count Basie remember Elvis the King with a Birthday Bash that remains one of the most anticipated concert events of the calendar year.
Scheduled for 8 pm this Friday, the event reunites (for the eleventh consecutive session) two of the most sought-after Elvis tribute artists on the touring circuit: the aforementioned Scot Bruce (who opens the show as the loose-hipped Pelvis that shocked the bejeepers out of 1950s America), and Mike Albert, starring in the second act as the 1970s Elvis of the rhinestoned jumpsuits, championship belts, oversized shades and jet-black helmet of lacquered hair.
The two “Elvii” have individually racked up credits that range from longstanding gigs at major theme parks plus featured roles in high-profile music videos and commercials, in addition to accolades like Albert’s first-place finish in the Presley-prestigious Hawaii Elvis Impersonator Contest. They cross paths once more at Red Bank in an event for which tickets ($20 – $40) can be reserved here.