LIVE REVIEW: The Divine Comedy @ Sage Gateshead (17.10.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It’s a shame that for many – including the louder members of tonight’s audience – The Divine Comedy song they get most excited about is National Express. As this evening demonstrates, the band have a vast back catalogue of equally classy, quirky pop songs, as well as some of the wittiest and most acerbic lyrics in the business.

Neil Hannon was solo on his last visit here, so it’s wonderful to hear his songs performed with a five-piece band this time, the accordion in particular contributing to a fuller sound. The suited and booted Hannon is charmingly charismatic, capable of conveying a hundred words with just a raised eyebrow.

Acquiring a bowler hat, he twirls an umbrella to deliver The Complete Banker’s cunning couplets before inviting everyone to dance At the Indie Disco. Later, he returns dressed as Napoleon for How Can You Leave Me On My Own from new album Foreverland, its simpler lyrics not dissimilar in tone to the equally infectious I Like. Something For The Weekend – with its insistent beat and familiar chimes – and Frog Princess – with bassist Simon Little providing its famous whistle – are the other standout songs, and Tonight We Fly makes for a jubilant end to the show.

If you only know The Divine Comedy for their biggest chart hit, you’re missing out.

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