The young waif of 2003’s ‘Call Off The Search’ is long gone.
That was the first incarnation of Katie Melua that I remember – at Museumsplatz in 2007.
The year 2013 saw not just a new venue (Kunstrasen) but a new Katie too, brought back to Earth as she then said by the low of a breakdown in 2010, and the high of a marriage (to Superbike-racer James Toseland)
Now, in 2022, enter yet another Katie Melua in a new venue again (this time Brückenforum). Freshly announced as pregnant by The Sun Newspaper (although it was rather hard to miss how her guitar stuck out as she herself joked) but also keen to talk about the Art of songwriting and with fresh songs too.
After a Covid induced break the one-day Stadtmusik Festival was back in Bonn this weekend. Highlights were undoubtedly Anne Haigis and Cynthia Nickschas. With stages this time in Bonn Centre, Duisdorf, Kennedybrücke and Bad Godesberg’s Konzertmuschel topped off with a closing concert back at Alten Zoll it was spread out very much more than usual though.
Being short on preparation time these days I set out for Bonn City Centre to catch this year’s Stadtmusic 2.0 Tag. It was something of a surprise then to find only the sound of silence (well, as silent as hundreds of shoppers can be) at usual venues Bottlerplatz and Marktplatz. Way at the back of Friedensplatz there was music that sounded like someone had a radio on loud, but heck, at least I could hear music. I was in time to catch local singer/songwriter Mags playing quiet acoustic songs in front of a smallish group of attentive listeners. It was three o’clock and I had planned to make my way around the various stages as in the past until the closing concert at Alten Zoll. I couldn’t imagine staying here until 6:30 pm though.
I abandoned my plan and decided to head for the most promising stage out of the many on offer – Bad Godesberg had Milene and Cynthia Nickschas (I missed Uwe Arenz and Heike Kraske as they were playing whilst I was at Friedensplatz) so that was my choice.
On my way to the train station, I could see several hundred people massed around a stage at Münsterplatz where pre-recorded music was being pumped out at a surprisingly (for Bonn) loud level as a man in a large red wig and dress rushed urgently back and forth on a stage whilst singing his lungs out – but it was not my sort of music. It seemed a pity that Stadtmusik was deprived of the main stage as well as virtually all other stages. Strange indeed.
Down at the Muschel in Bad Godesberg where live music, I am told, used to be a regular feature with orchestras to enjoy,j music was back again – and excellent it was too.
Milene has now dropped an ‘e’ to become Milen and also changed her musical style a lot if today’s show was to go by. I last saw her at Alten Zoll some years ago with a very pop-oriented sound and band. This afternoon she was backed by an altogether jazzier outfit and her velvety voice was a fine way to relax in the park.
Cynthia Nickschas was Cynthia Nickschas of course. Having said that, her band was a little different. No fiddle player for one thing, which I hope is only temporary as Alwin Moser’s tuneful accompaniment lends so much to her gypsy sound. Good to see Christian Zerban onstage though, particularly with his sax playing. Overall a rockier sound I thought, and one that makes the wait for Cynthia’s new CD all the more unbearable. It’s in the can she said – can’t wait to hear it Cynthia.
A rather odd Stadtmusik this year then. I hope that in future the venues will be closer together again so that there is somewhere to go between sets on the various stages. Certainly, the current tramline repairs and subsequent bus/tram replacement services did no favours for those wanting as I did to enjoy lots of music as was possible in the past. Great to have Stadtmusik Tag back then, but please next year don’t spread out so much and please give the Münsterplatz stage over to the festival too. Maybe the other stages could also be as loud as that one was this year? I guess that would be asking too much.
There’s a nice initiative to put good music on the streets in Bad Godesberg running through July. Local musicians have been organized to play at various locations in the centre.
Here is Folk Club impressario John Harrison who has the Saturday slot bringing some musical medicine to the Alte Apotheke. John will be back on 23 July and I recommend too doing some afternoon shopping on 27 July when Melchi will be playing.
Saturday’s first ever Folk!Picknick on the Kunst!Rasen was a great success. A mid-show downpour even proved how much people were enjoying the event as they were prepared to wait patiently for over half an hour or so, patiently and with good humour sheltering under trees and empty booths. All returned as soon as the music could flow again to enjoy a varied line-up of musicians, culminating in an appearance by 2014 German X-Factor winners Mrs Greenbird. it was particularly wonderful to see so many new faces getting to enjoy Folk music possibly for the first but, judging by their smiling faces and applause, not for the last time.
It’s been a four-year wait. Was it worth it? Hell yeah! Dressed, appropriately for someone with his name, in a bright yellow jacket and black trousers, Sting finally brought his ‘My Songs’ tour to Bonn’s Kunstrasen on Sunday and a full house of around 9000 people was there to sing along, and let the man from Wallsend wrap them around his finger.
This was to all affect this year’s ‘Classic Rock Night’ at Kunstrasen. German newcomers Circus Electric, a lighter touch from the talented Devon Allman Project, and of course Deep Purple (no description necessary but suffice to say that If aliens landed and asked not ‘Take me to your leader’ but ‘Take me to a Hard Rock’ concert in the early 1970’s‘, you would quite likely have taken them to a show by Deep Purple and presented them with ‘Live in Japan’ as a parting gift. Tonight though it was time for them to be ‘Live in Bonn’