For lovers of live music & picnics combined there is no better place in Bonn currently than Alten Zoll. Here, until 5 September there will be free music surrounded by lawns and beer-gardens. Sounds idyllic? Outside of a few rays more of sunshine it was exactly that on Saturday evening as the bands Skurilli & Banda Senderos got the ‘Umsonst & Draussen’ (Free & Open Air) Season off to a foot tapping start.
Bonn gets a lot of criticism over it’s attitude to live music these days, but all credit goes to the City’s Kulturamt and Hans-Joachim Over for putting together what looks like an interesting (and fun) season that I’m sure Beethoven himself would enjoy more than the nearby Markus Lüpertz statue of him.
Kicking off in front of a steadily growing audience were nine lively men from Cologne who delivered a fun set that was impossible to identify stylistically. There were touches of everything from Balkan, Punk, Klezmer, Folk, Jazz… you get the picture. I even seem to remember seeing sombreros being worn onstage, and a fierce(!) looking bear at one stage. Well, maybe not fierce, but a dancing bear for certain, just like many of the audience now were.
Banda Senderos didn’t so much as kick off their set as explode onto the stage. They won the audience over within five minutes with their fusion of South American rhythms, Reggae, Pop and general athleticism. Another nine headed beast of a dance-band. I can’t find a translation that does justice to their own later description of the evening on Facebook which proclaimed Bonn “Hat gescheppert wie Sau” but yes indeed, Bonn had gescheppert!
In fact, the location may prove to be the biggest challeng for future bands playing here. Even the super-charged dance beat and energy of the band had trouble initially tempting people away from relaxing picnic blankets on the grass bank nearby and cool beers from the beergarden overlooking the Rhine. Finally the crowd of dancers got so great that the Petanque game next to the stage had to be abandoned – what truer indication of a successful concert can there be than that?