Butterflies and Fiddles at Alten Zoll

BTB (23 of 26)If you didn’t know that Break the Butterfly were from Scotland through their tartan guitar straps you would have discovered it half way through their set when  Cameron Barnes picked up a set of bagpipes and played Scotland the Brave.  Alten Zoll in Bonn was the band’s first ever show in Germany but on this performance will be the first of many.  Frankie Gavin and Colm O’Caoimh  played their set later on as if Bonn was not just a regular part of their touring lives, but as if it was their living room.  A magic evening indeed under the Deep blue sky for picnickers and music lovers alike.

‘Trying to achieve the unachievable’ is how Lead singer Cameron Barnes describes the meaning behind the band’s name ‘Break the Butterfly’.  Barnes himself seems up for achieving anything that takes his interest and is already an accomplished actor in Scotland as a part of the theatre play ‘Blackwatch’.  Cameron is a member of internationally famous band Red Hot Chilli Pipers, rated one of the Country’s best bag-pipers and his friends include Comedian and Political Activist Russell Brand.  Somewhere on the internet I discovered he was voted one of Scotland’s most eligible bachelors not so long ago.  Plenty of opportunity for publicity then – but is the band any good?

BTB (1 of 26)

BTB – Break The Butterfly

Short answer to that one.  Yes, they are very good indeed.  The boys from Levenmouth (near Edinburgh) delivered a punchy Folk-Rock sound.  There are some classics in the set such as ‘Wild Mountain Tyme’ – “Not sure if this is Scottish or Irish” remarked Barnes.  “We love it though!”

Poppy songs like ‘Pringle’ with it’s sing along “Let’s Fly” refrain that Barnes had everyone singing with ease.  Just don’t go too far into what the lyric is about.  I suspect that popping a pringle may be just a little bit naughty – or maybe it’s just Barnes’ wicked smile that suggests it!

BTB (11 of 26)

Blowing a mean pipe – Cameron Barnes

Definitely a fun band for a club and despite this being broad daylight a fun band even for a growing band of picnickers that indeed kept growing until it was as crowded on the floor as it was on the grass verges.

After all the Scottish mayhem one wondered how the two quietly spoken Irishmen who took BTB’s place onstage were ever going to follow that energy.  Of course they didn’t.  Franke Gavin doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.  He’s played with musicians as diverse as Stephane Grappelli, Elvis Costello and The Rolling Stones.  His Irish Folk Band De Dannan is internationally known and loved and anyway, he’s Irish and he has a fiddle and knows very much how to use it.

Irish magic courtesy of Frankie Gavin

Irish magic courtesy of Frankie Gavin

Colm O’Caoimh, sitting to Gavin’s left looks like he may just struggle a bit to compete this evening.  O’Caoimh though is rather deceptively looking shy – until he starts playing the acoustic guitar that is.

The two men play a blinder of a set with all the ease of an evening at the local Kilkenny Pub.  Even when Gavin isn’t playing he’s still making music as he talks with a wonderfully laid back accent that reminds me of the polite tones of Rory Gallagher.  I almost expect him to introduce one of the tunes with Rory’s endearing “Hope you like it!”.

This was an evening when you could take a walk around the playing arena, down to the Rhine or up to the University buildings, and see people everywhere sitting down, listening or chatting or just sitting down together.  Since writing this I read that Saturday’s show with Bassekou Kouyate was similarly attended by the masses and enjoyed in a way that I hope will convince the powere that be in Bonn to make sure events like this continue.

Fankie Gavin (15 of 15)



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