If you’ve seen Julian Sas with his high energy Blues blasting the paintwork off the walls at the Harmonie then you’ll know he can play that Les Paul and that Firebird in the style of the best – Jimi, Rory, and a touch of Stevie Ray when needed. Thursday saw Sas sitting on a stool in front of CD racks, with just an acoustic and mini amp for company. No ‘Rob ‘Animal’ Heijne to power the drums or Tenny Tahamata to hammer down a bass riff. Just Julian, an old guitar, and the Blues. Magic time at Mr Music in Bonn City Centre.
At the back there’s a woman with a local radio microphone and at the front there’s the ‘General Anzeigers’ Music Photographer. It’s a good crowd of expectant faces and ears that Julian Sas surveys from his stool between the CD’s. When he finally lets loose his Blues it all seems so simple, like anyone could do it – There are obvious nods to the repertoire of the great Rory Gallagher: A moody ‘Nothin but the Devil’ that was a staple of Gallaghers later live shows, and a magnificent ‘100% Alcohol’ that goes back to my first ever Rory disc – 1972’s ‘Live in Europe’. There are classic Blues from John Lee Hooker and Blind Lemon Jeffersons ‘See my grave is kept Clean‘. It all sounds like the stuff of street corners on Beale Street. Maybe even street corners from Bonn to Bejing – wherever acoustic Blues is played (and that’s pretty well everywhere that a teenager can buy a cheap guitar). only there’s a polish to what Julian Sas delivers, a trill of notes, a burst of slide, that is a cut above the average Blues player on the street.
It’s a pity, given the warm weather outside, that the show couldn’t take place outside the doorway of the Mr Music Store, where street Blues really belongs. A pity too that more people couldn’t have heard it. Just a man enjoying playing music and an audience that enjoys hearing it. All very simple really. Very magical too. An encore of Hendrix’ ‘Hey Joe’ on acoustic – Julian does this so well in a large hall with his Marshall amps and electric guitar. He does it just as well this evening on an acoustic at Mr Music – because Julian Sas isn’t ultimately powered by electricity, but by a feeling. It’s in that bullfrog facial expression of his that reminds so much of Muddy, of BB and of Rory. It’s the face of a Bluesman. It’s what powers great music – a feeling from the heart. Sas has it. If you missed Mr Music then do yourself a favour and catch the Harmonie Show in November. It ain’t electricity, it’s pure Blues Power.