There can’t be too many firsts left where Sunny Skies, now into their 41st year, are concerned. A yearly gig at Bonn Harmonie s also nothing new for the band. It was a first however for regular singer Patrick Sühl to play with the band here – and a first too for female singer Melanie Nocon to play with the band anywhere at all! The difference being that Sühl has had plenty of time to get familiar with the bands sizeable repertoire. Hats off therefore to Nocon for stepping into the female singers role at short notice.
The Skies music have become heavier seemingly with every concert and its reflected in an increasingly heavy fan army. They must have been in 7th heaven then when the band kicked off After the tried and tested Hot Stuff with ‘Rock me like A Hurricane’ and continued hammered straight on into the early Deep Purple classic ‘Hush’. You certainly wouldn’t have known this was Patrich Sühl’s first outing at the venue – he quickly took control of the stage and indeed the entire audience in less time than it takes to shout out “Highway to Hell!”.
Understandably it took Melanie Nocon a little more time to relax, and she had to regularly check the stage lyric sheet. When she did settle though it was plain that once again Rope Schmitz and Band had found a quality singer (when did they ever fail?). She worked well together with Martin Behr on his guitar solo tour-de-force ‘Let it Rain’, proving himself once again to be one of the areas best axemen with a nonchalant grin as he delivered cutting solos right on the button.
The stage, and indeed the evening, belonged without doubt to Patrick and the hard rock quintet of himself, Behr, bassist Marvin Philippi and drummer Andreas Altmaier with keyboard support from Andreas Rochnia. No disrespect to Melanie Nukon, the horns and saxophone, and certainly not to founder member Rope Schmitz, but the gears and the enthusiasm seemed to move up one whenever something by Queen (‘Save Me’, ‘Hammer to fall’ or Deep Purple ‘Perfect Strangers’ popped up on the setlist.
‘Some songs worked better than others of course. ‘Moving to LA’ rocked majestically whilst ‘Live and let Die’ was short, and all the better for it! I suspect it was in there to give the horn section something to get their musical teeth into in the absence of ‘Little help from my friends’.
You really can’t fault the enthusiasm of either the band or their fans though and a half century anniversary beckons in a ‘mere’ ten years time. I see no reason not to buy an advance ticket for that one – they’ve survived unk, Glam and Hip-hop, why should time itself be a problem? There’s plenty of musical talent out
there and Sunny Skies has a habit of finding it!