Alrighty then. For those of you who haven’t read it, Sorcha Richardson appeared on the blog before as part of the SFASH Nialler9 Free Music Trail post that I put out about all the artists I saw during that weekend. I liked the taste of what I had seen when I saw her set, so I decided straight up that I would like to experience more and purchased a ticket to see Imelda May at the Cork Opera House on October 29th during the Cork Guinness Jazz Weekend, for which Sorcha was supporting. That in itself was an interesting decision to make because I had grown up in a household in which Imelda May was an oft mentioned and played name nearly a decade ago for quite a few years, but she had fallen off my radar for a while. Thus the perfect opportunity to ‘rediscover’ Imelda was presented. And glad I was to do so, from her older material to the stunning piece of work that her current album ‘Life Love Flesh Blood’ is, I was reminded just how brilliant an artist she is. Sorcha joined Imelda for much of the Irish leg of Imelda’s tour, so I kept an eye on her socials to see how the tour was faring, and heard great things about what I was in store for.
Eventually the Cork date rolled around and I headed to Cork Opera House, bagging myself a nice spot right against the barrier at the very front. There, I waited eagerly to see Sorcha play, having had plenty of opportunity to brush up on my listening of her music since the first time I saw her. Joining her as she came out was her full band set up, consisting of the following: Ror Conaty on Drums, Conor King on Bass, Geoff Warner Clayton on Keys and Vocals, and Kieran ‘Sherry’ Sheridan on Guitar. It was great to be catching Sorcha in a bigger setting than her previous Cork show, and she absolutely owned her spot up on the big stage. She further showcased and bolstered her position as one of the great upcoming prospects in the Irish music scene right now. She played a solid set of brilliant songs, including her massively popular song ‘Ruin Your Night’ that has nearly 4.5 million streams on Spotify, her song ‘Lost’ which has been featured in the new movie ‘Tragedy Girls’, and current single ‘Waking Life’ which is creating many waves in the scene right now to name but a few. It was apparent from whoops and cheers in the crowd that she had a number of active fans and friends in attendance on the night, though her performance seemed to have a positive impact on everyone else in the theatre too, as they attentively listened and enjoyed whether or not they had known her before the evening. Today Sorcha is set to play a solo set in a line-up alongside Malojian for ‘New Sounds in an Old Place’ at Drumcondra Church of Ireland in Dublin. It’s looking likely to be a sell-out show, with most of the tickets gone already and room for the last minute birds to fill those final places. Now that’s a gig that’s sure to be brilliant.
Next up to hit the stage was the illustrious Imelda May and her band. Opening with the song ‘Call Me’, she came out to a chair at the front of the stage and sang from the seat, quickly establishing her incredible vocal prowess. Warmed up and ready to go, the chair was gone after the first song as she utilized the vast stage space at her disposal, looking every bit comfortable with her presence and her interaction with the crowd between songs. Speaking of crowd interaction, two moments in particular stand out to me as brilliant moments of authenticity from the artist. In a quiet moment between songs, a shout from the front row rang out as a girl announced it was her mothers 60th Birthday and that she’s a huge fan. To her credit, Imelda immediately stepped forward to where the shout had come from and engaged in conversation with them right there and then, took a photo with the woman who’s birthday it was and gave her a hug, then finally before continuing was lead into singing Happy Birthday along with the rest of the crowd. Something tells me that she wont be forgetting the time Imelda May sang Happy Birthday to her. In another great moment between songs, Imelda had the stage lights brought up to normal and asked the audience to take a moment of their time to turn to those around them and introduce ourselves and shake hands. Climbing down from the stage, she walked the length of the barrier and did the same, shaking hands and taking introductions the whole way along, including myself. Speaking about how we were all there under a common love for music, it made sense to become acquainted with the like-minded people to enjoy a great night.
Approaching the half-way point to her set in what had already been a riveting stage performance thus far, the majority of Imelda’s band departed the stage to allow for some songs in a more intimate and stripped back manner. Sitting over the edge at the front of the stage, Imelda put on a brilliant Acoustic performance of her songs ‘Inside Out’ and ‘Girl I Used To Be’, her vocals absolutely on point.
Bringing the band back on stage, the show kicked back up a gear as they put on an energetic and fun filled display of music. Imelda even briefly brought out the Bodhrán to play it for a song, much to the approval of the audience. Continuing with the high energy performance, they brought out some classic Imelda songs such as ‘Mayhem’ and ‘Johnny Got a Boom Boom’, bringing to a close a set that had created an amazing evening of music the whole way throughout and been the perfect embodiment of the Cork Jazz Weekend. At the end after a big finale, before making my way out of the Theatre, I was able to get my hands on a copy of the set-list courtesy of one of the stewards behind the barrier. That now sits comfortably in a spot on my inspiration board behind the computer at which I write these blog posts.
Fresh off the adrenaline of making it through to the end of another amazing concert, I made my way out to the front where the merch table was waiting. I was already aware from social media that there would be Sorcha Richardson merchandise available, which I was very eager to get my hands on despite being of low funds on the evening in question. There at the side of the table was Sorcha herself, thus I had the opportunity to properly be acquainted with her in person at last. Having communicated a couple times since the first blog post was released, upon introducing myself in person Sorcha had the classic response ‘I knew I’d eventually run into you at the Merch stand!’. We had a good chat about how her touring with Imelda had been going and just how amazing a concert Imelda puts on, among other music related things. Sorcha was really down to earth and a pleasure to chat to, and despite the harrowing lack of funds in my wallet that still had to pay for things like food, I ended up coming away with an awesome T-Shirt and Tote Bag combo, and an Imelda May ‘Life Love Flesh Blood’ keyring. Don’t forget you can check out The Merch Perch Official Spotify Playlist at the following link for your go-to selection of music from every blog post so far. Word on the street is you can preemptively discover who has appearances approaching up to a day or few in advance of their blog posts! Updated currently with music from Sorcha Richardson and Imelda May. One might think after such a concert my evening of entertainment would surely be finished, but you’d be wrong. With just an hour or two to recuperate myself, I headed right back out for another massive concert the same evening. I’m always looking to one up myself aren’t I, read all about that in the next blog post coming soon! And remember folks, keep on Merchin’