1:23pm Thursday 7th March 2013
Sharon Shannon Arts Centre Swindon
IN bright red top hat and killer lace-up high-heeled red boots, Sharon Shannon sits cross-legged and pixie-like on a chair on the Arts Centre stage conjuring a diverse range of musical colours from a squeezebox.
Reels, waltzes and jigs abound but Irish traditional music is just as often used as a springboard for forays into other forms of global pop.
Sharon is dipping into 21 years worth of albums and occasionally forgets which song she’s supposed to play next. “Don’t put that on You Tube,” she laughs as one tune falters to a halt.
Every now and then the former Waterboys multi-instrumentalist puts down her accordion to produce a tin whistle from a velvet bag or pick up a fiddle.
“This is a lively one,” she announces, without really needing to.
It is not just the Sharon Shannon show, though. She is accompanied by Alan Connor on electric piano and guitar. A brilliant musician, he is not there to play a bit part.
A plaintive Irish melody or reel often morphs into a heady slice of boogie woogie courtesy of Alan’s furious piano style. At one stage he plays dazzling electric guitar while belting the piano simultaneously. Never seen that before.
He can sing too, and suddenly we’re into Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Midnight Special which swoops into jaunty, Irish style bayou boogie with Sharon squeezing sparks from her accordion. Very special indeed.
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