It started out like any Saturday morning in Bonn. Sleep in a bit later, have a coffee or three on the terrace, and head into the sleepy town centre. Except the town centre wasn’t sleeping. There were posters on the lamp posts proclaiming ‘BONN BLEIBT LAUT!’ (Bonn stays loud!). and there was music seemingly on every street. Was I dreaming? Blink of the eyes – nope, wide awake. I was experiencing what Bonn could be like at the weekend – an event called Stadtmusik 2015
There was a young Punk band named encouragingly ‘Wasted Future’ tuning up (tuning-up? well even Punk has progressed…) presented by the interestingly titled Musikstation ‘Kleinen Mück’ at Klanggrund (less affectionately known as the Bonner Loch opposite the main Station). Heading down towards the Centre I passed the familiar strains of local matadors ‘Blümchenknicker’ wafting round the corner from Bottlerplatz, but I had fruit and vegetables to buy so my walk continued down to the Marktplatz.
I hadn’t got too far though when someone was playing Blues – good reason for turning right into the main square. It’s election time in Bonn so this was a meet and greet by one of the local candidates. Seeing him alone for a moment I seized the chance to point out that the band were pretty loud for Bonn these days. He pointed to the posters up on the lamp which proclaimed ”Bon Bleibt Laut’ and promised that under his tenure there would be more life in the City Centre once again. Events like the recent Gronemeyer show should be the rule rather than the exception.. Support for Kunst!Rasen, for Klangwelle… I felt elated, happy about Bonn’s future. He smiled. I tried to read his mind. The mind of a politician. I failed of course… and headed back on course for my fruit and veg.
Standing at the wine bar with a cool Weissburgünder from Family Rupp (buying vegetables and fruit is hard work!) I heard more familiar musical sounds, and wine glass in hand went over to investigate. Up on the Guildhall balcony was a bride and groom waving to friends below. Below, in the shadow of the Great Hall was a small stage with a familiar figure entrancing shoppers and tourists alike – Ana Maria Leistikow. This time not billed as Astatine – but equally enjoyable with a different set of musicians. As Bukarest Boheme she and band were the perfect accompaniment to sipping wine, coffee and ice cream on a sunny Summers afternoon in the Square.
Still with vegetables and fruit to buy and eager to get home before the fresh fish I’d purchased became a health hazard, I sadly had to leave the City Centre’s music attractions for a while.
On my return I was pleased to again find familiar faces and voices making tourists and shoppers happy in the Marktplatz. This time the Jazzy voice belonged to Marion Preus and the equally Jazzy acoustic guitar belonged to Alexander Sobocinski aka SoBo.
Councillors, residents and Lärm Motzkis, if you could see the smiles and feel the relaxing atmosphere, you would I’m sure make it legally binding that Bonn MUST have live music in the square every Saturday by law. But I’m dreaming again, as so often happens when gentle Jazz seeps into the soul like mellow wine (and no, I wasn’t drinking any, the Rupp trailer had gone home by then sadly)
My main reason for the second trip out, armed this time with my trusty Nikon instead of the earlier compact, was to catch the evenings music down at Alten Zoll. Last week’s sunny dance music had created a wonderful atmosphere with dancing musicians onstage, before the stage a dancing public, and along the grassy embankment parallel to the stage, happy picnickers. This time around there was a trio of ladies laying down a melancholic melody on the stage, a sleepy looking congregation of picnickers on the grassy slope and three men in a soundmixing tent in front of the stage.
Trio Coucou from Dresden were actually very good. It’s just that (self proclaimed) sad songs one after the other played with melancholic vocal harmonies and complicated rhythm patterns are not the best of dance friends. They reminded me of Utrecht band Mr & Mississippi who I like to play late on a Sunday evening at home to relax – but on a Saturday early evening in daylight I would want something livelier, and I got it finally in the shape of another Dresden Band Strandlichter.
Despite the young faces they’ve been around a little while already and supported the likes of Silbermond and Gregor Meyle, but as is generally the case with Band bio’s on the Homepages of young bands they are men without surnames. Singer Jan certainly knows how to address an audience and has no trouble getting the space between band and audience reduced with just a few requests. He is also a dab hand at getting people to sing along, and clap along, which creates a party atmosphere as the evening progresses.
Their set is a mixed bag. Rap with ‘Alles beim Alten’ cool sax driven Rock with ‘Ab jetzt zu Füss’ and earnest Pop songs of the kind that German bands do so well such as ‘Lieblings Lieder’.
The whole band has a liveliness about them and an undeniable enthusiasm for playing that soon has everyone watching having a good time – and isn’t that what live music on a Saturday night is all about? Returning to the band’s website I find at the end of their biography the description of their sound as music that’s wonderful for laughing, crying, dancing or simply listening. Something for everyone in fact – which is a good way to describe the whole Stadtmusik programme that came our way on Saturday. The way a City like Bonn should, and deserves to be, every Saturday.
Apologies for all the band’s not mentioned here, but it’s good to report there was too much happening in Bonn to cover it all…