It began in 1995 as a means to encourage and support young musicians in the NRW area but has become established as a showcase for rising local musical talent. It’s not the prizes (totalling 20.000 Euros in value this year) that create a mountain of applications for places in the competition, not even I suspect the chance for band coaching and recording help. It’s a competition to test how far a band has come. A possible slot on the main-stage at big festivals like Greenjuice and Rockaue is also a ‘carrot’that hungry young musicians want a bite of. 3songsbonn caught the dramatic Grand Finale of Toys2 Masters 2016 at Bonn Brückenforum.
David Nienhaus, aka David Nevory and his band were my tip for first place but had the misfortune to be first onstage before a lot of people had arrived. David’s is a light rock sound that I like very much and his songs are well crafted – so much so that he went home with the ‘Master of Songwriting’ Award for ‘Look into the Mirror’. The band were also notable for having the only female in the final – Sandra Salzwedel on drums.
The Doghunters were highly regarded by many. ‘Rock, Alternative Punk, Garage’ seemed to me to be a category that would push them to compete for the coveted first place. Bassman Clemens had a ready smile throughout as he jumped around barefoot and vocalist Max Baeckmann certainly put 110% into his delivery – it all looked pretty good for them.
I remember going down to Klangstation out of interest to see Bromo play. They established themselves quickly as a popular act at Bonn Folk Club but surely, I thought, two guys with acoustic guitars would look a laughing stock amongst the punks, rockers and metalheads? My thinking should have been: ‘If one Ed Sheeran can play Wembley Stadium, then TWO Ed Sheerans should simply sail through Klangstation’ That’s what they did, and kept on sailing – right into the final.
An edgy start that wasn’t helped by a malfunctioning microphone halfway through song two didn’t stop the Ledermann twins and new band member Cajon/guitar colleague Alex Schrader. Luminous armbands were held aloft along with the occasional audience member crowd-dancing. It’s not such a long way from Bonn Folk Club to Brückenforum and audiences from 90 to 900+ and soundsystems – after all. Bromo bring their own small friendly atmosphere to any gig, large or small.
Millennia seemed all the more loud and dramatic following Bromo and perhaps this was a factor in their ultimate success. I’d seen them before at Klangstation and they were good but good enough to win? Certainly guitarist Fabian Jehnen throws all the right Rockstar shapes and facial grimaces and vocalist Alassio Schröder has a stage presence about him. A blinding set on the night and a few undecided voters certainly won over. But would it be enough…
Suburbian Rex are very much a Rock power trio with guitarist Anton reminding me physically of The Brew’s Jason Barwick. Bassist Ivo Althaus might not be Jack Bruce but he made a good impression and considering his age who knows about that comparison in future? Certainly the judges were impressed and voted him ‘Master of Bass Guitar’. I give ten points to Anton for taking a guitar solo after his strap broke from his guitar without batting an eyelid or missing a beat. A modern power trio then, but are power trios ‘in’ these days? Time will tell – about an hours time in fact as the acts come and go.
Zufällig Hier were certainly likely to leave an impression as a live act. ‘Comic/Street Art’ is not a genre I see on the CD racks at Mr Music. In my day it meant a band named ‘The Barron Nights’ playfully parodying Dave Clark’s ‘Bits & Pieces’ as ‘Boots & Blisters’. I’m probably the only audience member who was alive then so I suspect Zufällig Hier were not inspired by my only reference point to comic music.
I suppose it was also my age that left me cold hearing lyrics about small body parts, dead goldfish and sing alongs to ‘Wir sind Kacka, dir auch’ (We’re shit, and so are you) but they did know how to hold an audience and their popularity was apparent when the votes were counted. Their target audience isn’t 50+ year olds who remember Dave Clark anyway.
A set by last year’s T2M winners TIL filled in the time very pleasantly. I’ve seen the band a few times now and I very much like their commercial sound. Front man Dennis is guaranteed to appeal to the girls but their music stands up well too.
It was, as Mayoress Angelica Maria Koppel pointed out, an evening that proved “Bonn isn’t just a place for Classical Music but a place too for Rock!”
My thoughts entirely.
All votes counted and the final order was:
6-David Nevory Band
Toys2 Masters 2017 is taking requests to compete – may the best band win and it could be YOU!
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And if you missed it live here is THE FULL CONCERT IN FULL