Support act Jealous of the Birds is finishing her set with a sweet sounding cover of Suzanne by Leonard Cohen as I arrive - a young singer songwriter with acoustic guitar, she’s seated with table lamp next to hear and it sounds great. I wish I’d seen the rest of her performance.
The Divine Comedy come on to a cheering LCR in suits and ties to the theme from The Spy Who Loved Me. Starting the set with Down In The Street Below, and from the off it’s clear that this is going to be a slick and good natured show. Musiclaly it’s almost entirely jaunty and carefree but done with care, with more than a hint of olde worlde music hall feels. Neil is a natural storyteller, and despite the upbeat music, his tales are often incredibly sad. The sound is well balanced, if a tiny touch too loud, and the lights absolutely magnificent throughout. They hit us with Something For The Weekend the third song in, and after that it’s a classy mix of old bangers like Everybody Knows through to the elegant Catherine The Great from their latest album. They whip through songs as quite a pace, and the older numbers are successfully fresh. It’s heavy on the accordion, it’s dramatic and ebbs, dreamy at times and flows beautifully. Two keyboards provide the depth and complexity to the songs live very well. The band seem to be in high spirits, perhaps due to their ‘office Christmas party’ earlier that day, and Hanson is a total delight, making jokes and being affable all round. Halfway through he appears in a Napoleon costume. Why not? His voice is quite Bowie at times, in a good way. A definite highlight was a short cover to the intro to New Order’s Blue Monday before running into At The Indie Disco. Now that’s just pure class. We get a lovely singalong National Express and for an encore, Songs of Love aka the Father Ted theme tune followed by Tonight We Fly. What a lovely night, where everyone wants to be exactly where they are, and everything is right and good.