The best laid plans of mice, men and musicians… a CD release party with no CD? No problem – it becomes a ‘Pre-release Party’ as one of the brightest hopes on the Bonn music scene, Steal a Taxi, certainly left a large and enthusiastic crowd wanting more on Friday night at Fabrik45 in Bonn.
The only thing around older than me it seemed was the building itself. Fabrik45 was once a factory producing adhesive dressings and bandages. Now though it provides cultural dressings to help wounded souls in the shape of regular Art exhibitions and small concerts such as the one this evening, attended in the main by young students.
I might have felt something of a dinosaur surrounded by so many young faces but it was certainly encouraging to see there is a lot of young creative talent around in Bonn these days. Beatrice Treydel’s ‘Faces of Bonn’ project especially caught my eye. Portraits of people who simply love to live here in Bonn – two shots of each – both black & white studio and one in the subjects favourite place in the City. is the plan. Another exhibition of photos, this one from Nepal, also caught my eye and was a reminder of what a wonderful Land it is that is currently facing catastrophe.
Alongside the stark photos of Nepalese flags, mountains and people was a silk-screen press, doing good business printing T-shirts saying ”You want what you don’t want” which, not by coincidence, is the title of the soon-to-be-released CD by Steal A Taxi. Downstairs I could see Luis Schwamm warming up the audience with some acoustic songs and I rather felt sorry for him as I saw people pass back and forth of the stage during his whole set – making him seem almost a part of the exhibition at times.
The too-ing and fro-ing stopped promptly at 8pm though when Makeda Mischalke stepped onto the stage. The girl has an undeniable presence about her before she even sings a note. Momentarily I think of Prince’s bass girl Nik West immediately catching the eye at Bonn Harmonie earlier this year – although West was helped it must be said by a green glowing guitar strap. The band launch straight into their new CD’s title track and even if the audience was theirs from the start, Steal a Taxi work hard to reward that faith.
The set to a great extent writes itself for such a young band. Everything from their 2013 EP ‘Addiction’ with it’s Electro funk/pop style. ‘Time’ from the new CD particularly made a positive impression with strong echoes of Amy Winehouse and is catchy enough to have people even thinking they’d discovered a new Amy track on the radio.
Reminding me again of that Nik West moment earlier, Mikeda straps on a bass for a number or two. She plays it well and the band play well too, but I’m thinking of something West said at the Harmonie about playing and really PLAYING. I have a feeling that there’s a gear somewhere still waiting to be moved into with Steal A Taxi and that’s not a major criticism for such a young band. Co-founder Martin Schmidt is an excellent guitar player, drummer Jan Hubner holds down the beat well enough, and if Thomas Raatz irritates me by wearing headphones the whole evening I have to say he lays down a seriously funky rhythm that is central to the bands sound. It’s not all Electro-funk by any means though. For romantics there is the slow burn of ‘Don’t fall in love with me’ and for the rockers ‘Freeway’ has a hard enough Funk tinged edge to make everyone happy – by this time (the last track) Makeda is even happily shouting out anything to go alongside the ‘freeway’ chorus and the audience is quite happily shouting whatever it is back.
Where is the local press when something good is happening in Bonn? Not a General Anzeiger photographer or scribe to be seen. Hopefully though they will give the new release a listen, and if they do I’m sure they will be giving the band a lot of press-space afterwards. A musical band-aid for the wounded soul. Live musical magic in fact.