The Divine Comedy


Northern Ireland’s The Divine Comedy have to come to be affectionately known as an orchestral pop band. Formed in 1989 and fronted by the ever enigmatic Neil Hannon, the band has seen an ever evolving line up with constant changes in personnel. Having an impressive 11 studio albums under their name, they arguably achieved their greatest success in the mid nineties, but this has not stopped them from attracting attention on the live circuit.

Having always been a fan of the band, tonight’s show at the 02 Ritz is set to be interesting and the live experience certainly does not disappoint. ‘Down in the Street Below’ from 2010 album Bang Goes the Knighthood is a melodic opener with its piano ensemble and soothing vocal melody which opens into a bouncing rhythm eerily reminiscent of a fairground ditty. ‘To Die A Virgin’ sets heads bobbing and feet tapping with its complex arrangement. ‘Catherine the Great’ is the first track to come from their 2016 release Foreverland, with its clever word play and catchy countenance.

‘To The Rescue’ also from Foreverland evokes a dreamy soundscape which is continued by ‘A Lady of a Certain Age’, one of their more popular tracks which is well received here this evening. ‘Our Mutual Friend’ from 2004 LP Absent Friends proves popular and ‘How Can You Leave Me On My Own’ raises the tempo with its jangling piano and bouncing rhythm section.

‘Indie Disco’ with its inserted section of New Order’s hit ‘Blue Monday’ garners the expected cheer from the home crowd and is accompanied by an impressive light display. That they choose to conclude with the predictable choice of ‘National Express’ makes it no less brilliant, and it receives no less of a cheer and a singalong from the appreciative crowd. They return for a three track encore, finishing with ‘Tonight We Fly’ which sees the entire room clapping along merrily.

The Divine Comedy have a played a varied set tonight, selecting tracks from across their discography which were performed with all of the usual flare and the quirky mannerisms we have come to know and love. I don’t think anyone here tonight can say they were disappointed.

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Lover of all things psych and shoegaze and the mind behind Astral Elevator; constantly seeking new musical experiences in a world full of noise.