POP / Sweet and light: The Cranberries - Shepherd's Bush

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The Independent Culture
The crisp, healthy roses adorning each amp should have been enough to tell you that this was going to be neither rock nor roll. Dolores O'Riordan, a peroxided imp in a tutu, hacked at her guitar to mannered cries of 'Go on, Dolores]', and dissent only loomed with the dismissal of 'Linger', just three songs in. Thereafter, ploughing toward the stage became a cinch compared to buying a pint.

The Cranberries are the Radox of rock: here to soothe you, to ease your troubles. Dolores, who also writes the ebbing, ethereal songs, has been compared to Sinead O'Connor, but in place of O'Connor's political savvy is hard-sell. 'This is off our new album,' she announces before at least half the songs. Mercifully, a number about the Jamie Bulger tragedy silences that plugging tongue. Everything else is bookended with schoolmarmly sobriety.

'This one's just me and my guitar,' she says when the band scurry away, a demand of unquestioning reverence implicit in her words.

The hypnotic lighting cycle - a backdrop of minty green succumbs to fiery yellow, simmering orange, chilly blue - is symptomatic of the Cranberries: pleasant but underwhelming. The guitarist looks fey and bashful in his drab suit, and when Dolores, dressed like Ballerina Barbie, shimmies up to him, there's a spice to the costume clash that the songs are starved of.

The band are a great lumbering question mark, an unfathomable phenomenon, though the couples swaying along don't care about that, for they leave deeper in love. Someone's whistling 'Linger' in the gents, and the barmaids mouth the words to every song. But Dolores? There's a nasty feeling that, whether strumming 'Ode to My Family' or playing bossy- boots for 'Ridiculous Thoughts', this is her night out, not ours.