a short site about The Divine Comedy

Queen's Hall Edinburgh

Remember Louise Wener? Her band Sleeper? No? Only last week she was telling The Scotsman how she coped with her loss of fame post-Britpop.

The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon was a contemporary of Wener's and his band enjoyed a similar career trajectory to her's - a brief happy flurry of interest in the mid-Nineties, saturation coverage for his witty retro ditties, followed by blanket indifference.

Hannon's response was to sack his band, go to ground and re-emerge with this latest guise of The Divine Comedy.

Well, you can run but you can't hide Neil. Your future entry in Grove's musical dictionary will note that one of your most enduring contributions to popular culture was writing Father Ted's Eurovision entry My Lovely Horse.

Hannon may not be relaxed with that particular songwriting endeavour but he seemed happy enough to revisit the best-loved corners of his back catalogue. After a cheeky opening instrumental, he launched into a loose cavalier rendition of The Frog Princess, a caustic tale of a former French girlfriend from his cynical pre-marital bliss days.

Fortunately, he was feeling playful enough to tackle a rockabilly cover of The Pixies' Planet of Sound and to hand the reins of National Express over to special guest Lenny Beige. That's the Fringe effect folks.

The band played two of an alleged 50 new songs, Happy Goth sadly not living up to its comic potential. Overall, the set was a democratic selection of The Divine Comedy's diverse past, from the panoramic to the pants.

Fiona Shepherd
The Scotsman 16/08/2002