THE DIVINE COMEDY + MAN & THE ECHO – BRIGHTON DOME 16.10.19
Oh how I was looking forward to this almost-sold-out night at the Brighton Dome.
It’s been a good few years since I last sat The Divine Comedy, and my memories were of a joyous romp through a slew of quirky pop classics that will surely stand the test of time.
Added to this, on a purely intellectual level, the new long-player – ‘Office Politics‘ – is a quality product with songs that bear close examination and hold together as intended in concept album form.
And having taken a little time to research support act Man & The Echo I was equally interested in exploring the live persona of another band with that ability to translate observational comedy into great songs.
Indeed, Warrington’s Man & The Echo did deliver a nicely packaged warm-up offering.
The four-piece’s lyrical style is perhaps summed up by the artful line that opens ‘A Capable Man’ … “I have successfully challenged parking fines with my persuasive rhetoric…”
And much like The Divine Comedy, their sparse musical production simply provides a foundation stone on which the edifice of crafty elocution teeters like a precariously grandiose mansion on the hill.
They have a headline tour of smaller venues coming up (in Brighton it’s the Green Door Store) and I’d recommend giving them an evening of your time. Purchase your tickets HERE.
But here’s where things somehow hit a slump.
Maybe it was just me – after all, music is a very subjective beast – but I just got the sense from the crowd reaction (or lack of it) that tonight Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), had somehow lost the magnetism needed to pull a band together into a coherent stage set.
There was a feeling of watching a group of session musicians going through the motions. Concentration on hitting the notes and holding the beat felt like the dominant force – with performance taking a back seat.
The applause between songs was polite rather than rapturous. The buzz in the room was more chatter between people in the audience whose attention had drifted rather than electrical crackle.
With a long journey home ahead, despite all the best intentions of staying to the end, we departed at around the half-way mark.
Perhaps the band found its footing in the home run… certainly looking back on the set list there were a good few obvious crowd-pleasers in there that should have hit them mark.
But sadly for us, for tonight, the comedy was not quite as divine as it might have been.
The Divine Comedy setlist:
‘Norman And Norma’
‘Come Home Billy Bird’
‘The Synthesiser Service Centre Super Summer Sale’
‘You’ll Never Work in This Town Again’
‘I’m A Stranger Here’
‘A Lady Of A Certain Age’
‘At The Indie Disco’
‘The Life And Soul Of The Party’
‘A Feather In Your Cap’
‘When The Working Day Is Done’
‘Something For The Weekend’
‘Philip And Steve’s Furniture Removal Company’
‘Songs Of Love’
‘Tonight We Fly’
Further details on The Divine Comedy can be found on their website: thedivinecomedy.com
Visit and ‘LIKE’ our ‘What’s On – from Brighton and Hove News’ Facebook page HERE.