SHARON SURPRISES WITH VERSATILE SET
Is that a teacup in Sharon Corr's hand? Saturday night at the Sugar Club, and you would think that, being back on home turf and all, the eldest Corr sister might indulge in something a little…stronger, let's say.
"This is honey and lemon," she smiles, having just dipped into the first Corrs' number of the evening. "Very boring." No worries, Sharon. These are busy times, after all. Second album, The Same Sun, is released this week. The tour is in full swing, too. And whaddaya know? Sharon Corr: The Solo Star is finally settling into a groove.
There's a lot of theatrical arm-flailing going on, and just a touch of melodrama, but hey, this place used to be a cinema - might as well give us something interesting to look at.
It's not just the voice (sweet and strong, sounding more like her sister, Andrea, with each release). The confidence has improved. So, too, has the song writing (acceptable soft rock at the best of times) and, of course, the presentation. She's also quite the storyteller.
At one point, our likeable host divulges details of a record deal proposal that went wrong. See, Sharon likes to pour her madness into the music (her words, folks). Love, anger, frustration and the like. So if someone offers her a contract then backs out of it before she has a chance to sign, she's going to get angry. Then write about it. Ears Painted On spills the beans. "Yeah, that will teach him," she says of Mr Shady Record Deal man. She should get angry more often.
It's an unusual gig. All over the shop, stylistically (a stagnant yet accomplished five-piece band work their way through guitars, uilleann pipes, banjos and percussion), but it's that surprising touch of versatility and dexterity that helps Sharon Corr (44) and her boys stand out.
"This is all about fun and entertainment, leave all your troubles behind," she tells us (because that is what live music is about, apparently). Fine with us. Later, the fiddle comes out (it all gets a bit diddley-eye for a while...).
There's a neat, stripped-back cover of Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy. The gorgeous Raindrops shows what Sharon can do with just a guitar for back-up.
She even makes room for a history lesson - Corrs 101, in fact, as Sharon runs through the band's "rollercoaster ride" of a career. Again, she's only too happy to pluck songs from the old bag (Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, the catchy So Young, etc), and why the hell not?
It doesn't look like a reunion is forthcoming (probably a good thing, that), so for now it's the closest we'll get to hearing these old radio favourites live again. Sharon Corr might not know what kind of artist she wants to be.
Pop, rock, trad-folk - it's all up for grabs, veering dangerously close to session-player territory.
But it's worth sticking things out. She may yet surprise us - she already has, in fact.