One of the UKs most enduring and quirky bands The Divine Comedy finally made their way to Luxembourg on Friday night at den Atelier.
Late last year The Divine Comedy fronted by Neil Hannon, the only ever-present member of the band, released their 11th studio album ‘Foreverland’.
Although they achieved their greatest commercial success back in the mid to late 90s with nine top 40 singles including a top ten with ‘National Express’, their new album has charted better in the UK, Ireland and France than any previous albums to date. Much of this continued success is to do with a passionate and loyal fan base that only grows as Hannon proves he still has a knack of writing quirky songs.
Taking to the stage in full Napoleon Bonaparte regalia, Hannon opened with the piano driven ‘How Can You Leave Me On My Own’. It instantly highlights why Hannon has had such a dedicated fan base, with humours lyrics aplenty with the song an ode to a loved one, begging them not to abandon the singer for just a couple of hours.
“When you leave I become a moron, a beer-swilling time-killing moron / I surgically remove all of the green food from my diet, I know I should be reading but I’m too lazy to try it” he pleads.
It’s not just the lyrical content that grabs you but the slightest of gestures from Hannon himself as with just the slight raise of an eyebrow he manages to convey a hundred word in one gest.
With such a well received new record it was a delight to hear much of the early part of the set peppered with tracks from it. Never one to shy away from a subject Hannan called out “the fascists are rising we should make a ‘Pact’”, before launching into the jaunty marching rhythm of the song of the same name. Hannon has a knack of mixing humour, love and despair in his songs whilst always keeping the upbeat feel with the lightest of touches.
The orchestral and operatic ‘The Certainty of Chance’ once more highlight Hannon’s deep warm vocals before he made his way off stage leaving the band to finish. He returned a couple of minutes later wearing a suit, bowler hat and with umbrella in hand for ‘The Complete Banker’, in which the irony of the lyrics “Well maybe this recession is a blessing in disguise, We can build a much much bigger bubble the next time, And leave the rest to clean our mess up” was not lost on Hannon as he smiled and said “I hope there are no members of the banking community here tonight”.
Lisa O’Neil who supported on the night joined for ‘Funny Peculiar’ with their contrasting vocals creating a wonderful juxtaposition in this most witty and delicate of love songs.
The end of the evening leant heavily on the older material with ‘The Lady of A Certain Age’, ‘Something for the Weekend’ and of course ‘National Express’ which had the crowd swaying and singing once more.
The Divine Comedy proved why they’re so well loved, with an exciting set packed with the old and new. Whilst Hannon gave a lesson in showmanship with his genial manner truly endearing the crowd who he had under his spell all evening.
den Atelier – 27/01/17