Elvana @ o2 Institute, 6th December 2019

For those not aware, Elvana are a Nirvana tribute band, fronted by Elvis, hence Elvana. Tonight, they brought their love to Birminghamshire, and there was a lot of love for them. They were brilliant.

From the opening of the show, Territorial Pissings, which merges into That’s Alright Mamma, you kind of get the drift for the evening. The set is primarily Nirvana, and played very well, but with the occasional meandering into Elvis. The ‘jazz-suit’ wearing band of Danny Cobain, Rob Novoselic and Bobby Grohl provide an honest and accurate account of the songs, but all eyes are on Elvis, centre stage, and often on the crush-barrier amongst his adoring fans, in his bejewelled jump-suits (of which he wears three different ones). He works the audience and the room well, and when he kissed a lady’s hand who was standing next to me, I thought she was going to leave a puddle. Sadly, the King didn’t kiss my hand.

He tells us that they have played Birminghamshire five times before, and it was one of the first places they played and when they realised “folks really like this shit”. He also tells us that he often sounds like Nick Cage, sometimes Kurt Cobain “but rarely do I sound like Elvis fucking Presley”.

Under a shower of confetti, we get School/In the Ghetto, with the whole audience singing the chorus, it sounds fabulous. For a possible first, Elvis arranges a circle-pit but the curveball is it’s not for a Nirvana song but Blue Suede Shoes. Genius.

Elvis says they don’t have any new material to play (obviously) but they will play Scentless Apprentice, which they’ve not played before. 

It really is a brilliant set, and the quality of the playing is clearly appreciated by the audience, most of whom it’s fair to say were not even born when Kurt Cobain left this earth. The appetite for Nirvana only continues to grow, and there have been more album releases since the passing of Cobain than were released whilst he was alive. There is also demand for Elvis, and if you don’t like an Elvis tribute (Vegas era of course) then you should seek medical attention. You just can’t help but grin, watching Elvis doing his kicks, and then you realise at the same time you’re singing along to In Bloom. Oh my Goodness! 

Let’s just reconsider, Elvis fronts a Nirvana tribute band. They are brilliant. For those of you who missed out, all apologies.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen of Birminghamshire, Christmas came early. If you make one resolution for 2020, make it to see Elvana live. Thankyouverymuch.


Reviewer: Glenn Raybone

Photographs: Ian Dunn


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