Having seen Astatine at Bonn Folk Club, Sonia’s Jazz Kneipe and now at the Kunstgarten I still feel I haven’t seen the band around Ana Maria Leistikow in the ideal setting. Songs with the intensity of Cole Porter’s ‘Get out of Town’ really need a smoky club, a dark stage, and a single spotlight that blinks out into darkness on the last poignant note.
Until that perfect stage comes along it’s probably better to just close my eyes and imagine it’s late, and dark, instead of 7pm and sunny (will there ever be live open air music after the sun goes down in Bonn again?). But closing my eyes would be a pity when someone as charismatic as Ana Maria is in front of them. She gives the impression of someone who not only loves singing the songs, but loves the songs themselves, which isn’t so hard to do I guess when you’re talking about timeless classics like Gus Kahn’s ‘Making Whoopee’ Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan’, or ‘Imagine My Frustration’
‘Vintage Jazz’ and ‘Gypsy Swing’ are how the music is described on the Astatine Website (very artfully done – check it out) and they certainly ‘swing’ more than I’ve seen before at Kunstgarten. This is to a great extent down to the addition of Olaf Hesse, especially when he brought a saxophone to the proceedings.
Otherwise it was the same high standard of business as usual from everyone onstage, with especial recognition due to Frank-Olaf Nagel for his tasteful solos. It’s difficult to imagine that anyone could object to music like this as being ‘loud’ or an ‘unwelcome noise’ but of course it only takes one ‘overly loud’ Rock Band to play here once, and every other performer could lose the opportunity to play before a large and enthusiastic audience. That would be a very sad loss for aspiring musicians, especially local ones. It would be a very sad loss too for those who, like me, enjoy chilling out on a Summer’s evening with a cool glass of wine/beer beside a calming lake surrounded by greenery.
Sorry if I’ve got off the point of reviewing Astatine, but this was the perfect music and location for a relaxing evening and just like its bigger Kunstrasen neighbor, the future of Kunstgarten is also hanging in the balance. So get out and support it, Sunday’s show was further proof that great music and a great venue make for a great evening.