Gig review: The Duckworth Lewis Method, Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
Tuesday 09 July 2013
“We're not doing a cheese album,” quips Neil Hannon, sporting a Carry On Up the Jungle pith helmet to his fellow satirist, Thomas Walsh, who appears to be channelling WG Grace with his weighty beard.
The comic duo are performing on a small stage (pictures of Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart, a reminder of English cricket's dark days, adorn the wall behind them) in a carpeted function room at the home of cricket, two days before the Ashes commence. They're accompanied by the Barmy Army's Billy “The Trumpet” Cooper, who is banned from blowing his instrument at Lord's matches. Not here, though, where absurdity rules.
“If you’re going to flash, flash hard,” intones Hannon on The Duckworth Lewis Method’s deliciously daft “Boom Boom Afridi”, from the pair’s second cricket-themed record, Sticky Wickets. Commentator David “Bumble” Lloyd, who appears on the album along with Daniel Radcliffe, is sadly absent from this determinedly jaunty affair.
DLM's “concept”, conceived by Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Walsh (Pugwash), isn’t quite as droll as the first time around on The Duckworth-Lewis Method. There isn’t anything, for instance, that quite matches “Jiggery Pokery” about the fiendish spin delivery Shane Warne propelled down to a befuddled Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes: “Robbery, muggery, Aussie skullduggery/ What in the buggery/ Was his delivery?”
There have been gently mocking songs about cricket before – most notably Half Man Half Biscuit’s unprintable ode to Fred Titmus and Roy Harper’s “When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease”– but nothing as erudite as this. I doubt the Pakistani middle-order firebrand Javed Miandad ever imagined he would get his own lovely pop anthem, and “Meeting Mr Miandad” is a highlight here.
As is their new track “Out in the Middle”, which even slyly mocks Lord's: “You can have an Oxbridge PHD/ You can have a box at the MCC/ But have you got what it takes to be out in the middle.”
Their plinky-plonky pastiches, which are interspersed with spoken word discourses, variously recall Gilbert & Sullivan, ELO, glam-rock, Ben Folds Five and Flanders and Swann. These deft lyricists wryly herald the underdog (“The Umpire), eccentricity and old-fashioned values (“The Laughing Cavaliers”), and even deliver the odd googly. The caustic “It's Just Not Cricket” spins rather viciously out of the rough with the lyric “Bend over bank-man and take one for the team/ A billion dollar bonus and a handshake from the queen/ It’s not right, it’s just no cricket.”
It's a rare moment of seriousness in this supremely silly [mid-off] experience.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt stars in visceral and brutally ugly drama that reminds us war is hell
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts