Irishman Ryan Sheridan was a teenage dancer in ‘Riverdance’, spent two years acting in the USA and then formed a Rockband in Glasgow. He was ‘discovered’ busking with a cajon playing friend in London, and now here he is this evening in Germany. The Harmonie Bonn to be exact. 3songs caught the show by a man whose biggest hit is a song called ‘Home’ but who seems to be at home all over the World.
It’s one of those rare occasions I get at the Harmonie when I don’t recognize a single person in the audience. Not even someone I might have sat next to on the bus. The audience is predominantly young (c. 20 to 40 year olds) and all seem to have seen Ryan Sheridan at least once before. Beside me are a couple who drove down from the Essen area and I here talk of visitors from Düsseldorf. Later, before playing his homage to loneliness ‘Home’ Sheridan asks “Who’s from Bonn?” and from the balcony I don’t see a single hand go up in the air. Where were you local music lovers? You missed a good one!
Support band Mrs Greenbird have an interesting name, a taste for garden show stage decoration and some pleasant songs in a sweet musical style. Maybe too sweet. They made a name in the German X-Factor and certainly Sara Nücken and Steffen Brückner have a strong onstage chemistry together. Their acoustic country pop style wasn’t quite my thing though. Best moments came from a song dedicated to my favourite drink of relaxation and occupation – coffee, and a surprise bit of ‘punk’ for their Road Manager in the form of a folksy Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. Best by far though was ‘Slow me down’ thanks to the added grit of a laptop steel guitar. Pleasant stuff from the Cologne based duo and their laid back style certainly made the arrival of Ryan Sheridan and his hard hitting (literally) set all the more dramatic.
Now I ask, would you get much volume from a guitar and a cajon/drum duo. You would think not. you would be wrong.
Although only Ryan Sheridan’s name is on the ticket but I’m going to name his ‘accomplice’ in musical crime right away as Roland Nolan. This guy really put the hammer down for the whole show and would give Ian Pace a run for his money with only his bare hands to play with. Sheridan himself exudes energy from the moment he plugs in the first of his many acoustic guitars. His sound is somewhere between Paul Simon on amphetamines and Phil Collins with an Irish lilt.
Proof that Sheridan is taking his audience with him from gig to gig almost comes from the regular calls of ‘Wo-oh!’ that seems to fit into more than half the songs on offer. They certainly fit on the chorus of ‘I’m Alive (a bit broken)’ which is a lively favourite for song of the night. That accolade though is split between two numbers this evening: ‘Forever more’ a song “About taking time and smelling the roses in life” as Sheridan puts it. One I will certainly hunt out online in the hope of learning it for Bonn Folk Club. Just whiskering it for best song for me though was the moving ballad ‘Home’ and if you’ve seen the video to this you will appreciate it resonates with anyone who travels anywhere and, as pointed out at the start of this review, that is certainly true of it’s writer and singer.
There’s need for refreshment mid-set of course and the beer bottles are brought on. Sheridan’s Irish upbringing is unable to stay hidden: “How big is this bottle?” he says with disappointment. “Not big enough!” he laughs. How big is Ryan Sheridan in the music world? Not big enough. If he comes back this way I want to see more hands go up when he asks “Who’s from Bonn?”