The Divine Comedy & Cathy Davy – The Lemon Tree – 02/11/10
I’ve been to a marvellous party; I must say the fun was intense. As was the heat in the Lemon Tree last week, as it happens, with a capacity crowd crammed in to see The Divine Comedy visit the city for the first time in a decade.
I have to say, the venue was a perfect setting for Neil Hannon’s quirky songs, and the Irish maestro had the crowd eating out of his hand quickly, in a manner that would have befitted an airing of the infamous “My Lovely Horse”.
As it was, Hannon’s charm-filled delivery and the all-too-rare feeling of a true connection between artiste and audience helped the evening feel truly intimate. The Complete Banker sets the tone for a set which sums up Hannon’s strengths; joyful and witty, but with an acerbic undertone.
At times on record, his work can come across as a little try-hard, almost too clever but in a live setting his natural charisma and showmanship help the songs come across as I’m sure he intended. Playing solo and alternating between piano and guitar, Hannon’s dry wit and unique delivery come across well, and he’s not shy of interacting with the crowd. “Shall we whistle the theme tune,” he asks during Songs of Love, more familiar to many as the theme tune from Father Ted. “I feel like I’m in a Disney film,” he says afterwards.
The audience join in again as the singer asks the crowd to substitute for the brass “La Marseillaise” accompaniment to The Frog Princess, and during the encore when Can You Stand Upon One Leg calls for an audience member to tell a joke (Q: What do you call a man with no shins? A: Toe-Knee).
Of course, there’s a mass singalong for The National Express, and Hannon is also engaging when he segues from At the Indie Disco into New Order’s Blue Monday, and then follows that up with a cover of The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me – complete with falsetto female part. Even when Hannon forgets the words, he improvises on a crowd member’s reference to his drink, coming up with some lethal-sounding combinations of alcohol.
If this gig felt like it could have taken place in my living room, I hope this gentleman is nowhere near the drinks cabinet. Feeling Supersonic
Pics by Still Burning.
The Divine Comedy Website
Cathy Davy Website