a short site about The Divine Comedy

Shepherd's Bush Empire

Neil Hannon: " isn't it nice........lots of bodies in one place all being so quiet?"


Neil Hannon: "yeah right"...ironic whimsical laughter

Our aim was to have a fab night out in Londinium, seeing and listening to The Divine Comedy.

So on the way to Shepherds Pie, me and Sally were having a good natter on the tube and this handsome but drunk irish guy butted in and he really should've known better. Sure it was nice of him to ask me to a party on Saturday, and without missing a beat even inviting my husband when i told him politely I was going out to dinner with my other half. He got that (even more) glazed look in his eyes when he tried to butt further into our convo on childhood excema....he found it as irritating as our kids did and gave up on butting in, contenting himself with getting one of his other mates in various headlocks on the tube train floor which really perturbed the two 6 foot 3 inch guys to our right but noooooooo, not me and tiny Sally in full flowing convo on skin ailments.....

ok, what's this got to do with The Divine Comedy? nothing really. I suppose there's a tenuous irish link there....("get on with it you're taking up valuable cyberspace" Ed)

Miss Matthew Jay, the support, by a whisker. ("never!" sarcastic-Ed). Get the Guinness in, more goss. Get good position four rows back to the left. Wooooo, there's a gong, not quite the gong in the Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii video, but a nice looking gong. Keyboards and lots of percussion,and bits of brass too

The 7 who make up The Divine Comedy stroll on around 9.10pm. . Neil with pint in hand, Crispian Kula Shaker hair, beads and wearing a t shirt declaring "G O R June '78, Tourists 1, Locals 0". Bryan (bassist, recently interviewed by the best webzine on the planet - whaddya mean which one? THIS ONE!) with the flattest arse I've ever seen on a bloke - either he's left the hanger in his kecks, or it's concave. Or both.

Straight into their latest single "Love What You Do" which is fab and must've had the guys from TalkTalk consulting their lawyers with that opening (ref "It's My Life"). During the first 4 songs, 3 are from their new album "Regeneration" (highly recommend by The BF) but I couldn't tell you what the mix of the setlist was because I hardly know any of their stuff ("Now you tell me" Ed). But to quote Nye Bevan before the Manics, this is my truth....

"Our aim is to depress" says Neil to the four tiers of smiling happy audience. Like Alex Ferguson, tonight I reckon he's gonna need a telegram from the Queen and a letter from the Pope.

Their set was pure class. Using guitars, drums, xylophone, trombone, percussion, keyboards, synths they played all sorts from heartrending ballads, gorgeous pop, acoustic comedy with 'Frog' and that song about a bus company (why oh why don't more people do silly dances to that one? dour lot!), progrocking, the cover of the Quo's Pictures of Matchstick Men (as promised by Bryan in his BF interview you heard it here first!), a jiggy vibe, even a cover portion of "Last Christmas" (yay). All sung in that unique voice-of-the-Bishop-of-Clogher's-son-stylee. By the time Neil did his final sissor kick at the end of the last song, we were in the front row.

Our aim was achieved. Neil Hannon's wasn't. Depression was not an option at the SBE. Rather the band were quite Divine, and yes there was lots of Comedy. They do what it says on the tin and had won over the SBE - Neil's t shirt had it right.

Sal Smithson Loves What They Do
The Brain Farm