It’s not the easiest of times for live music in Bonn right now. Even so, there are days when it really is a pleasure to be in this City and when when you realise there is still a lot to be very pleased about musically. One of those days was Saturday. A day of Sunny Skies and Flowers. To be more accurate –Sunny Skies Bonn’s best cover band, and Blümchenknicker – Bonn’s best band for being, well, different. If you wanted to show Bonn and it’s people at their Summery best then this was the opportunity.
One downside of two excellent bands playing on the same day is usually having to choose between the two. Rather pleasingly then the concert with Blümchenknicker at Alter Zoll started at an early 6pm and Sunny Skies at Rheinau was 7.30pm – with a ten minute tube ride between the two.
I won’t go into too much detail about the Blümchenknicker concert itself – I saw and reported on them only last weekend. What I will say though is that if there is a better band to listen to in the open air on a pleasant Summer’s day then I really couldn’t name it. There’s almost a country fair air about the band. Certainly there was a country fair air about the venue. Lots of waving hands and dancing going on stage-front, but over on the grassy embankment there were picnic blankets laid out right back to the (in)famous new Beethoven sculpture. A sea of mainly young and studenty faces. Not a big gain financially to the Alter Zoll koffers I fear as most had brought their own refreshments, but undeniably an atmosphere of Summer with very much a capital ‘S’.
Hard to believe after the Kunstgarten stage but there were even more ‘Blümchenknickers’ playing this time – including a very tasteful addition of violin. As the Band so rightly say, faced with such a delightful musical offering, what would Jesus do? “Jesus würde Tanzen!”
If you stayed at Alter Zoll then you will be saying now -but there was another delightful band that played afterwards by the name of La Papa Verde!. My apologies to the ‘Green Potatoes’ as they curiously translate as from Cologne, but it was time to catch up on my old friends Sunny Skies and watch the sun go down in the Rheinpark.
The Beer Garden at Rheinaue is always popular. On several days a week during Summer it offers live music, often top quality Cover Bands, sometimes Jazz and occasionally even a bit of Blues. Today it’s offering Bonn’s oldest surviving cover band ‘The Sunny Skies’ as the equally oldest surviving founder member Rope Schmitz calls them. It also appears to be where the half of Bonn’s residents who weren’t at Alter Zoll are to be found. I suspect there was also a further sea of happy ‘Bonners’ at Kunstgarten to see acoustic duo ‘The Jungle Buds’ too. Some days I could do with not just a second ‘me’ but even a third one!
I arrive during the first break. I can’t persuade Rope to have the band replay the first set so I have to take guitarist Martin Behr’s assertion that ‘Perfect Strangers’ and other classics went down a storm on good faith.
It’s all good clean fun for everyone, even if Patrick Suhl does suggest taking his trousers off to make the evening more informal. I’m certainly not going to argue with Patrick, his ability to connect with the audience is something I enjoyed first time I saw him with the band here a couple of years ago – and he just gets better and better. The same is true of his vocals. Having seen Ian Gillan last year at Kunstrasen it’s safe to say that if you want to hear Deep Purple as they sounded in the early 70’s then you are probably better served at a Sunny Skies gig in 2014. ‘Highway Star’ is not a song to be approached lightly, and Suhl has all the necessary ‘Whack’ to make it magic – even if the volume leaves something to be desired, so this is as good as you are likely to get in Bonn in 2014, and it is very good indeed. Martin Behr as ever perfect on lead accompaniment. I can’t see the real Purple coming back to Bonn with our present sound restrictions so enjoy Sunny Skies. There were a lot of young children present at the show so this was their introduction to Rock Music – and a good one too.
Patrick Suhl didn’t have it all his own way as a vocalist for the evening of course. Babsi Nitsche was both looking and sounding as good as I’ve ever seen/heard her and delivered a version of Anouk’s 2009 hit ‘Nobody’s Wife’ that brought the metaphorical house down. All in all a stellar performance from the Band. With the sun finally down and under a sea of sparklers I was once again reminded of how magical live music can be for the ears, the heart and the soul. Long may it and the bands who make it continue. One Saturday evening in Bonn, two venues, two bands, and a whole lot of magic.