“Our aim is to enrich and strengthen the local Pop culture” said an enthusiastic and smiling Cyrus Valentine showing me around the former Hansa-Haus in Bonn Bad Godesberg. The complex comprises of offices, fifteen rehearsal rooms, a fully equipped recording studio and the only room populated on this, the buildings Open Day, a concert hall that accommodates up to 120 attendees. Did I add that, being placed right next to the railway track, they can also play until midnight? Sounds like aspiring musicians in Bonn finally have some good news. Heaven on Earth even.
Cyrus Valentine has used his extensive knowledge of the Pop scene (gained via successful 90’s band ‘Noble Savages’) to great effect and in three years from conception to completion the Rock & Pop Zentrum, (RPZ) to give the venue it’s proper name, is already proving a popular location for upcoming young musicians – a scattering of whoms smiling faces were to be found at 2 pm in the concert hall.
Getting the afternoon started is no easy task butClara Clasen has fended for herself pretty well career wise and took it in her stride. Clara rose to fame via Sound About Sunday a blog that involved writing a new song every week. It ran for 53 weeks so Clara is not short of material for her ever popular appearances or fans either as a recent set at the Stadtgarten proved. From the biting ‘Blue Lights’ to the mellow ‘Setting my bridges on Fire’ and the romantic ‘Beautiful Stranger’ she has every emotion well covered.
The band’s today draw heavily from local contest Toys 2Masters. Clara will have a lot of support and the David Nevory Band will be at or near the top when votes are finally counted at this year’s contest I’m sure. Nevory has a nice mix musically of AOR with a dash of Folk – For some reason Gordon Lightfoot came to my mind listening to his vocal style at times) and then there’s Millenia who I remember catching at Klangstation during the Toys 1st Round and liking very much their Funk Rock style and vocals of Alassio Schröder who had double reason to smile onstage as it was his 24th birthday.
Capping the evening off in fine style were the winners of Toys 2Masters last year TIL. For me TIL equals BILL as I can’t help seeing Tokio Hotels frontman when I see the band’s guitarist/vocalist Dennis. The band though have a sound all their own that’s been honed over 13 years (and yes, they are all still youngsters – the music started almost from kindergarten it seems!). Very much like Tokio Hotel they have the looks, they have the songs and they have the girls following. The sky, as they say, is the limit for this young trio – and maybe when they hit outerspace people will be making pilgrimages to the places it all began, like the new RPZ building.
Time will tell just how successful the venture will be of course. certainly the events hall needs some tweaks still. The sound was roundly commended by musicians on Saturday but how well it works out with a full audience would be something else entirely. Air conditioning would be a good idea given the proximity to the railway makes opening the windows a bad option in Summer, and a live venue without alcoholic drinks and food? A few things to sort then but, as Mr Valentine proudly pointed out, there is really nothing like this, even in the mighty gigging City of Cologne. For young local musicians (and the not so young at probably a higher rental tarif) This could be the start of a very special initiative that gives the young talent of the City a start they deserve.