Cynthia Nickschas – Protest and Pop at the Harmonie

DSC_7443Songs of Social injustice and real life on the street were the stuff of Germany’s ‘Liedermacher’ singer songwriters in the late 1960’s. One of the most influential was Konstantin Wecker. In April Wecker formed his own Recordlabel – ‘Sturm & Klang’ and found four suitably socially conscious musicians to put on it. One of them learned her craft playing on the streets of Bonn, but tonight she has a stage, a band and a microphone. A chance to hear Cynthia Nikschas play without fear of a passing rain shower or the babble of passing shoppers.

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King King – Yardclub Cologne

DSC_7094King King swept the board at this year’s British Blues Awards, taking home trophies for Male Vocals, Bass, Drums, Band and Album, as well as being runners up in the Guitarist and Song Categories.   All the accolades haven’t translated into big venues in Europe yet, but what it does mean is that the smaller venues get very crowded and very sold out very quick. Join me in a hot and sweaty part of Cologne just off the B9 called the Yardclub for some equally hot and sweaty Blues.

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28 Performers, 36 Songs, One Folk Club…

DSC_6813It’s 6.30pm, an hour before Bonn Folk Club part 51 is due to start. There is already a pile of guitar cases stacked up outside the hall that is growing steadily by the minute and a selection of garden chairs that is diminishing just as steadily by the minute as they are taken into the backroom of Haus Mullestümpe. By 7.15pm they are being carried in, only minutes later to be carried back out again – full house. By the time John Harrison shouts his cordial “Ladies & Gentlemen!” at 7.30pm there are a dozen or so people reduced to peering in through the entrance doors.

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Richard Limbert – Hang Me Higher

Richard LimbertLongtime regulars at Bonn Folk Club will remember Richard Limbert from his days with a twelve string acoustic – always playing confidently, and often as not, taking a walk around the beer tables as he did so. A veritable Folkmusic troubador. No longer a Bonn resident, it had been a while since we last met when he joined in the 50 Clubnight Anniversary celebrations last month, and to make up for lost appearances he proudly handed me a copy of his very first CD to review.

Proud he should be too, because it’s a cracking mix of self-penned compositions that, even if they don’t come with state of the art production do come straight from the heart.

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AJK – What’s Good For You

AJK1For those who don’t recognize the bands name , you might well recognize the face behind it. Alex Krienke (AJK) was the longtime male vocalist behind Bonn’s long running coverband Sunny Skies.

A couple of months ago at the Harmonie I got a pat on the back and a how are you from a guy I couldn’t quite place (blame the long hair he didn’t have before) and it was Alex, talking enthusiastically about making music of his own and a band he was getting together.

The fruits of that band’s labors went into my cd player recently, and an interesting little disc it turned out to be too. So much so that it has made several returns to my cd player since in fact. I didn’t know quite what to expect, certainly there were some pleasant surprises in store. Alex was a keen fan of the immortal Freddie Mercury but he never sat at the piano for a Sunny Skies song as far as I could remember. He was/is a keen fan of heavier rock than I am, being a member of the local Iron Maiden coverband Killerz. I sort of oriented my expectancy of the bands debut ‘AJK’ on the back of Killerz – was I wrong or was I WRONG?!

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Portsmouth Rock with Laurence Jones

HUR_1877A pleasure of the Ruf records Blues Caravan tours is to catch young blues boys and girls and watch them develop. It wasn’t so long ago that I caught Laurence Jones in Bonn laying down some fiery licks with a confidence three times his tender age. Catching the ‘Brit Blues Boy Wonder’ on home UK turf and with the super backing of Jamie Little on drums and Roger Inniss on six string bass was too good a chance to meet.

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