We’re only just in 2023 but already more than 40,000 tickets have been sold for this Summer’s Kunst!Rasen Season.
A rundown of the current program:
15.06 Santiano 18.06. Klassik!Rocknacht 19.06. Bon Iver 20.06. Porcupine Tree 24.06. Achtung/Note: No Classic Rocknacht at Kunst!Rasen. Instead E Werk Köln with Billy Gibbons & The Bfg’s! 04.07. One Republic 07.07. Roland Kaiser 08.07.Folk!Picknick 14.07. Simply Red 15.07. Broilers 02.08. Bastille – Neu 04.08. Brings 10.08. Placebo 12.08. Niedeckens BAP
With a couple more shows still to be confirmed so watch this space…
First a quick catch-up for those who are not familiar with the name Richard Bargel. Growing up in Bonn Bad Godesberg, Bargel started out as a folksinger but even early on was thinking outside the box and formed his own puppet and theatre company ‘Lumpentheater’. The ’70s saw him building up a following in England by playing at some of London’s premier pubs and clubs (100 Club, Dingwalls, Half Moon in Putney). He was in some excellent company too embracing a mixture of styles with the likes of D.P. (Elvis) Costello and Wizz Jones. The ’70s also saw Bargel forging his blues links through concerts with luminaries of the genre such as Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim.
How many guitarists have you seen lately using a tremolo arm/Whammy Bar on their guitar? Not too many I would bet. There was a concert in Bonn between the museums in 2010 that if you saw it you will probably never forget. ‘The Three J’s’ featured up-coming Canadian Jimmy Bowskill, THE Bluesman of the moment Joe Bonamassa, and top-of-the-bill Jeff Beck. The show finished with Jeff Beck playing ‘Over the Rainbow’ on his famous white Strat. I tried to see how he conjured up those notes from my vantage point fifty rows back and all I knew for certain was that his right hand was barely moving as he played the whole melody. as if he was playing everything by magic with the fretting fingers on his left hand. Take a look at the video under this article and you will see he is actually controlling much of the tune using that tremolo bar and the tone/volume controls below them. It’s a masterclass on guitar control. maybe not magic, but musical wizardry for sure.
For quite a while there was a ‘Holy Trinity’ of Blues Rock guitar Gods. Sure, there were several others also ‘in the frame’ at times, like Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Rory Gallagher, but THE names were Hendrix, Clapton and Beck. Three men who between them defined the sound of pretty well every electric Rock guitarist that has since plugged in an amplifier. Whilst Jimi was taken tragically early Clapton and Beck seemed to be playing musical chairs in the literal sense of the term as Beck replaced Clapton in John Mayall’s legendary Yardbirds. This was at a time when walls in the UK were being spray-painted with the words ‘Clapton is God’, so no pressure there!
As history relates though, Jeff Beck wasn’t bothered by the hype, he did things his way, as he would continue to do throughout his career, and by the late 60’s had formed his own group – with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ronnie Wood on bass. Indeed, if you look at Beck’s career he has always found top-notch musicians to deliver his musical vision and been successful enough from an early time so that he never had to rely on hit records – aside from his sojourn in the 60’s pop charts with ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ which was sent his way by the supremo Pop Impressario of the time Mickie Most. Tellingly, Beck left the track off of his album that year ‘Truth’ (although it later got added to re-releases). At any rate, Jeff Beck was never again a ‘pop star’ and from the 70’s onwards brought out ground-breaking albums that sold well enough to finance the next one and help define the place of electric guitars in Jazz-rock.
Back to that Museumsmile concert in 2010 and I remember doing an interview with Jimmy Bowskill in a port-a-cabin backstage room afterward when the door sprang open and in came Jimmy’s bass player Wayne Deadder like a man who’d just won the lottery proudly carrying a copy of Beck’s latest disc with the autograph on it still wet from Beck’s pen. I would not have been surprised if Joe Bonamassa had also headed over to the Beck marquee for a signature too. The people onstage were fans as much as those in front of the stage that evening.
There are many excellent guitarists out there today of course. Buddy Guy and Walter Trout are pretty special. Laurence Jones just keeps getting better every year. Mike Zito, Gary Clarke Jr… ladies are also making a real mark these days like Joanne Shaw Taylor and Samantha Fish. Whoever they are though, the DNA of Clapton, Hendrix and Jeff Beck’s playing is likely to be somewhere in them, making them play as they do. I first saw Beck from the photopit when he played Museumsplatz in 2006 and in my first ever picture of him he is standing at the very back of the stage with his arms up, acknowledging the loud applause – and that was before he had played a single note that evening. Only musical legends can command an audience in such a way – and we have sadly lost another.
Isn’t there an old joke that Heaven is full of harp players, and Hell is full of banjo players? I can imagine the twinkle in John Harrison’s eye when he decided to put this event together. Having said that though, there is also a saying that the devil has all the best music (written by a blues fan I suspect) so, let’s see what this evening’s interesting Bonn Folk Club mix masterminded at Dotty’s has in store.
Bonn Jazz fans will be glad to hear that last year’s Kameha Jazz Nights prove so popular that the venue will again be hosting top jazz musicians and, even better, they won’t have long to wait! – here are the three shows currently planned…
12.1. Sendecki & Spiegel
2.2. Jin Jim
2.3. Omer Klein
Tickets for the Kameha Grand concerts from BONNTICKET
There is also Jazz coming Bonn’s way again from Dottendorf soon, where the Christine Corvisier Quintett will be playing on 24 March in what will be the venue’s 100th Jazz concert.
Friday’s (6 January) Bonn Folk Club is a Harps and Banjos evening.
“This time we have no most “special guest”, but rather many, and several, guests of all kinds and talents galore. There will be those kinds of harps that comfortably fit into peoples’ pockets and between the lips (see above), and other kinds of harps, that unlike said “Gob irons” will not fit into one’s pockets, however large their pockets may or may not be. These “Celtic” types simply do not fit between the lips, not even of “Satchmo”, “Satchel Mouth” Mr Louis Armstrong himself. They are though very melodic and soothing to the soul. Naturally, there will be several banjos too, and some “Joes” who can play them!” – John Harrison Folk Club MC
Location as always is Dotty’s Sports Bar (Bonner Tennis- und Hockey-Verein – BTHV), Christian-Miesen-Str. 1, 53129 Bonn-Dottendor
2022 has not been a great year for most people on planet Earth. Finally escaping from Covid, only to be faced with huge price increases as a result of a War that (like most wars) the people involved in never wanted. Music-wise there seemed, finally, to be a light at the end of the tunnel, but it was quickly dimmed as audiences went from being afraid of viruses to being afraid of energy prices. International musicians have been hit hard – especially those with the additional whammy of Brexit regulations.
In spite of everything though, there were some stellar shows in Bonn last year. Who could forget especially Kaftwerk and Robbie Williams down by the university? or, my favourite show of the year, Sting (below with his own Beethoven) finally making his entrance. And what a super entrance it was at KunstRasen.
3songsbonn wishes everyone a Happy Christmas and a much better New Year. There will be good music coming Bonn’s way for sure. I know that because Bonn itself is full of great musicians who can thankfully be relied upon to brighten up the stages and the streets of the City. If you want to keep up to date with who’s playing where and when then please check back on this site next year and let’s celebrate music as the healer it is together!
What was your own favourite show/musical moment this past year? Let me know in the comments below.
Meanwhile, here are some of my favourite shots and shows from 2022…