Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Masters of the Weary Entourage,

I nearly overcame my irrational fear of having my height measured today. Another commitment, other than The Bellyaches, required me to give details of my height. Height never used to be an issue to me, I was always very small at school, I'm not a giant now, but since I left school I've grown taller than most. As a result, it seems to me, it would be such a waste of growth should I not be at least 6 ft tall, thus I don't want to measure my height and be disappointed.

The crowd at last evening's Divine Comedy gig at Glasgow QMU included an unusually large proportion of tall people. We had hoped to arrive in time to see Declan O'Rourke was playing in the support slot but the navigator proved incompetent - unfortunately, I am both the best map-reader and best driver - and parking spaces scarce. In keeping with one of my other irrational fears, of odd numbers, I handed the tickets numbered 87 and 89 to my colleagues and we entered the venue just as Declan had departed.

The band eventually trickled onto the stage, the main performer, Neil Hannon, appeared last, resplendent in tweed jacket and waistcoat, accompanied with jeans below - in order to reflect the "eclectic nature of the set". The first couple of songs were new to me, and the crowd were generally unresponsive until Generation Sex. Neil is a genuine showman; he never failed to make the audience laugh between songs, he apologised to the crowd for their "late" arrival on stage, blaming and mocking guitarist, Long John Evans, who supposedly forgot they had a gig on. New single, Diva Lady is much more powerful live, other songs from the new album, the one about the teenager in a relationship with an older woman and the one for his mother possess the trademark humour that Neil's success is based upon.

The band performed a cover of The Associates' Party Fears Two - a rotten song but its a favourite of nearly everyone for its diddly riff - where cellist, Chris and violinist, Louisa, in particlar, added a new, fun dimension to the song. Soon the call came from the manager that the band only had 10 minutes left and it wasn't even 10pm, Neil seemed as disappointed as the crowd, he instructed the crowd not to applaud or cheer so that they could get through Charge, Something for the Weekend and Tonight We Fly on time and manage to catch their transport link. It was slightly disappointing that the night had to come to an abrupt end, but the band left the crowd with three astounding songs that served as more than fair compensation.


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