Review: The Divine Comedy prove both divine and comedic at flawless UEA gig

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

The Divine Comedy may well be the most appropriately named band around - musically, they are divine, as personalities - hilarious.

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Right from the off it is clear what kind of evening the audience are in for - tongues firmly in cheek, Neil Hannon and co emerge to Carly Simon's Bond theme - Nobody Does It Better.

For the next two hours, the Nick Rayns LCR is treated to Hannon's joyous brand of pop music - brilliantly thought out, melodically pristine and complemented by his Scott Walker-style, conversational, baritone vocals.

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

His lyrics are sharp, witty and on a huge wide range of topics - love, Russian monarchs and public transport to name a few - with Hannon's infectious sense of humour running through.

One lyric rings particularly true - referring to electing the type of men you wouldn't leave your kids with - despite being written some 20 years prior to the rise of a certain world leader.

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant

The Divine Comedy perform at Norwich UEA. December 2, 2017. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant


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Between songs, the singer is chatty, showing the same witty personality that shines through in his lyrics.

Towards the end of the two hour set, Hannon makes a somewhat bizarre costume change - leaving in a sharp suit, returning in full Napoleon costume - before a rousing rendition of Napoleon Complex, from the band's latest LP.

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The main set ends with a euphoric rendition of National Express - to date the band's only top ten single. The quality they deliver makes it remarkable they haven't had more.

Following this, they return for an encore, featuring the beautiful Song of Love - which famously lent the theme tune to Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted.

It was only just over a year since the Divine Comedy's last visit to the fine city - having played Open in October 2016. After last night's show, there will be no complaints here if they make another swift return.

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