Elvis Costello at the Roundhouse - Roundhouse - Celebrating 50 Years


15 April 1978

Elvis Costello is no stranger to the Roundhouse, Zoë Jewell takes a look back at his first gig here and how it was received.

Elvis Costello ticket stub, 1978

Credit: Roundhouse

Post-punk rock star Elvis Costello played two nights at The Roundhouse with his brilliant band The Attractions in April 1978, for free. These gigs were remembered by those who were there as the best they’d been to. Fan James A. Smith wrote into us and described it as ‘majestic’.

“Girls fainted, Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott jammed on stage and everybody danced hysterically” – John Blake

Elvis opened with a solo rendition of ‘Stranger in the House’ and was joined with organ accompaniment for ‘Oliver’s Army’, the protest song that would reach number two in the charts the following year.

Elvis Costello had emerged onto the DIY punk scene via indie label Stiff Records. His often political lyrics railed against British fascism in songs such as ‘Less Than Zero’ and he was one of the many musicians who joined Rock Against Racism in the late 1970s and early 80s to protest against the rise of racist rhetoric in the UK.

Elvis returned to the Roundhouse in 2016 with his band The Imposters.