The Divine Comedy - Hard Rock Cafe - 9.8.10

Its a night that really should have seen a Pasta Hut style make over with Hard Rock Cafe rebranded as Soft Fop Cafe, something not lost on Neil Hannon himself as he takes to the stage for a solo performance as The Divine Comedy and acknowledges the rock greats on the wall such as The Village People. Naturally being a Q The Music night the average age of the audience is the wrong side of 30 and with Oasis lyrics and Beatles pictures all over the walls it brings to mind a night in the TFI Friday studios rather than a proper gig, but with a critically acclaimed album "Bang Goes The Knighthood" recently released and anextensive back-catalogue the music speaks for itself.

Appropriately dressed in top hat, suit and adorned with briefcase Hannon starts off with the jaunty "The Complete Banker", a humorous take on the recession referencing the 80s yuppie culture and Thatcher along the way. "I Like" is more traditional whimsy and the part 2 to "Everybody Knows (Except You)" which follows directly after complete with a 200 strong sing-along audience. Its something that continues and what lacks in a backing band is made up with an exhuberant audience who know each and every word to the likes of "Your Daddy’s Car", "National Express" and "Becoming More Like Alfie"

"At The Indie Disco" is a nostalgic romp through our childhood and name checks "The Pixies, Roses and Valentines" and rhymes it with "Blur, Cure and some Wannadies". Totally out of step with todays youth and that’s the way we like it as at the height of Britpop, the Divine Comedy spoke to those bored of the laddish oiks into Oasis et Northern Uproar. The only acknowledgement to any contemporary music is a beautiful cover of MGMT's "Time To Pretend" which musically builds on that simple piano motif, but lyrically is probably as far removed from Hannon’s life as is humanly possible.

Ending on the classic "Tonight We Fly" it was a brief, but joyous hour long set with sadly no encore. With so many hits missed out such as "Generation Sex", "The Frog Princess" and "Something For The Weekend" you can bet that most of the audience will be back for more in a couple of months on the full UK Tour.

Alex McCann


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