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LIVE: The Divine Comedy

16 November 06 words: Darren Howard
A spine tinglingly good show was to be had courtesy of Neil Hannon and his band, our man has the lowdown

The Divine Comedy live at Nottingham Trent SU - pic by Dom Henry(c)

Opening with a friendly nod, a blown lead guitar amp (swiftly and smoothly remedied) and a caddishly arched eyebrow, The Divine Comedy certainly played to their strengths at Trent University, by camping it up royally, crooning with crafty charisma and generally charming the paisley off the pastel shirts of their followers.

Something that seems to pass the majority of people by about Neil Hannon and his comically divine friends is that they are a musically deft bunch, being able to both croon out a spine-tinglingly English take on the classic love song, and kick out a fair chunk of reasonably jagged Rock.

Not being entirely familiar with The DC’s back catalogue, I was worried that I’d turn into one of those people at gigs whose ears are tuned into the hits, the whole hits, and nothing but the hits. This was not the case. The adeptly-written and performed songs were a positively delightful mixture of pathos, sentiment, melody and verve, topped off by the diminutive Mr Hannon’s beguiling Bowie-esque tones.

The setlist ended up being pretty much the right mixture to please everyone, despite the deafening yelps for favourites between songs. Naturally (predictably?) National Express brought the house down for the final encore.

As stage performers, The DC definitely rely on their front man to lead the charge, but despite this, the sense that they were having genuine fun oozed out and left the crowd sopping with contracted enthusiasm.

“Now it’s just you and me” opined good ol’ boy Neil after cheekily shooing away the press photographers like a proper scamp after the second number.

This set the tone for what turned out to be a surprisingly warm and intimate gig, that left you with a feeling that you’d just left any sense of ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’ down below with those little people who worry about such trivialities, and simply had a damn good time.

The Divine Comedy played at Nottingham Trent Students Union on 05/11/06

All photos courtesy of Dom Henry (c)

The Divine Comedy - website

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