The General Anzeiger’s Sommergarten tends to be coverband/Jazz based, so Blues on the roof is a rarity; In fact one of the few Blues shows there that I remember was by the late Lee Lozowick. It was something of a shock when merchandising Manager Anke Olowson pointed out that it took place in 2007. This time around it’s Lozowick’s band mates from Arizona, Shri, who serve up a generous helping of Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson and even a bit of Robert Dylan.
It’s a bright and sunny mid-day sun that’s beating lightly down on an already crowded Bundeskunsthalle rooftop. Shri singer Kate Parker is wearing dark glasses not just because of the sun though. “ We finished our last show in Luxemburg at 3 this morning” she reveals “, but they still kick off with some spirited classics, and the first notes I hear as I head up the concrete steps to the roof are from ‘Walking Blues’. Already a great reason for being here – the promise of some classic tunes.
As guitarist Doug Fulker told the General Anzeiger newspaper: “We’re not a band for playing huge solos, that distances the musicians from the audience. We are more the cousin’s and Uncles that play at a family celebration”.
Which is an ideal style for the Sunday on the roof crowd. Most come to all the shows and are interested not in egos or solos but in having a good time listening and maybe dancing to the band. For some it’s a background sound as they play mini-golf on Inga Weber’s ‘Trümmerbahn’ course, and for others it’s something to snooze to on top of one of the current giant ‘hay’ bails made of coloured straws from Michael Beutler’s ‘Ballenernte’.
To many it’s a chance to have a relaxing glass of beer and ‘chill out’. Put me in that bracket too and Shri are just the ticket for this. Alongside the classics there are a number of self-penned titles from the band, many stemming from the enigmatic Lee Losowick, my favourite today being a spirited ‘When the Levy Breaks’. Shri are clearly not sitting back on past glories, and indeed the band has undergone some personnel chances – along with Losowick, guitarist Frank Giambelluco has also passed away and harmonica girl Nachama ‘Miss G’ Greenwald has hung up her harps. Founder Member bassist Tina Zuccarello is very much here though, sporting an eye-catching Buddha style tattoo and guitarist Doug Fulker has also been involved with the band from the beginning.
Fulker’s description is pretty spot on in fact. They have a busy dance floor in front of them that becomes a short term ‘home’ for dancers from about 8 to 80 years old and I’m reminded of BB King saying that the Blues isn’t just about feeling sad – it can also make the heart glad and lift the soul. On today’s evidence there were a large quantity of lifted souls heading to the four corners of Bonn and beyond at 2.30pm. More Blues on the Roof next year please General Anzeiger!