The last Kunst!rasen weekend is already here and it’s been an interesting mix of musicians who have taken to the giant stage by the Rhine this year. Another interesting evening is promised tonight too. Gregor Meyle is not a superstar by any means but he’s made a name for songwriting and live shows – the latter through an audience rapport that was evident when he implored the Haribo contingent on the VIP balcony to sing along seperately to ‘Don’t worry Be Happy’ and got an enthusiastic response that must have left them with laryngitis for Monday at the office.
Those of us not on a solid balcony were feeling the ground move beneath our feet after the rain and heavy footfalls of yesterdays Boss Hoss crowd. Mud though was forgotten when Gregor Meyle around onstage. Here was a man who understood us all, a man of the people, a man who was proud to announce that “A lot’s happened this year. My account is now in the plus!” A likeable man in fact. Which was just as well, because we had his company for the next three hours.
A quick career check to bring you up to date about this evenings Kunst!Rasen star: 2007 casting show : Gregor Meyle started his musical life in a Guns n Roses coverband until his life as a sound engineer changed forever when he appeared in a Stefan Raab casting show in 2007 that, like all casting shows, was given an abbreviation – in this case ‘SSDSDSSWEMUGABRTLAD’ (and no, I’m not making that up, and I’m not typing out the full version – you’ll just have to trust me!).
The song he used in the 2007 show was John Mayer’s ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’.
Outside of the ‘dodgy’ connection with a casting show or two then (he also had a song entered in the VOX show ‘Sing Meinen Song’) there seems every good reason to hope for a good rock/pop concert on Saturday.
The man who seems to almost do a jig onto the stage at 7pm does not look like a rockstar with his hat and thick spectacles. He reminds me more somehow of a cross between Robin Williams and Richard Dreyfuss. He does have an undeniable presence though that seems to just be there, in the way that you feel happy when a favourite and familiar Uncle drops by, except Meyle is not my uncle and until today I only knew him by name.
A good portion of the concert is probably spent talking, which sounds bad except that he is actually standing, talking and yes, even singing, three hours later. Respect!
I actually enjoy the banter more than the music for the most part. There’s a shy lisping delivery in the man’s talking voice that reminds me of Blues guitarist Henrik Freischlader but sadly none of Freischlader’s stinging guitar. In fact the Guns n Roses/John Mayer part of Meyle’s musical CV seem to have been rather lost in the success that casting shows and their expectancy brings. There is a cutting song about people risking their lives on overcrowded boats in search of a better future(‘Die Chance‘) but otherwise both music and lyrics seem to have a soft and relaxing tonality without edge. The likes of ‘Finde dein Glück’ are a bit too Volksmusik style for me.
Edge or not, there was no doubting the man had an attentive audience. They were up to scratch on his life in the media and ready to laugh at his relationship to Xavier Nadoo, and involvement in a cookery programme. He even had the entire audience craning theit heads above them when the moon came up and he stopped the music to watch.
There was a bit of added fire to the evenings music when Kölschrock Band Kassalla took the stage to Meyle’s tongue in cheek introduction: “Sometimes this sort of music can get on the nerves a bit” (“Manchmals kann es schon nerven”) but the youngsters did show that for those who like the genre it ain’t dead yet! After playing the popular ‘Marie’ with Meyles they did their own thing with a mild Poguesyian (yes I made up that word) approach to the Kölschrocking genre – watch out Bläck Fööss and Die Höhner!
All in all then not really my kind of music, but like I said, Meyle and his excellent band did a three hour set at a time when a lot of people are ready to cut and run at 90 minutes. All in all I would happily invite Gregor Meyle round for a coffee and a chat, For music though, I admit he knows a good tune and has a good hand with pop lyrics, but I’ll stick to my Guns ‘n’ Roses and John Mayer collections.