The popular free concert series Music in the Park kicked off this week with visitors able to hear bands from Bonn and the surrounding area in the Kurpark in front of the Bad Godesberg Trinkpavilion for the next few Wednesday evenings. The organisers wanted particularly to give local artists who are not yet so well known in the area a chance to perform and this was particularly evident on the opening night with two young local bands appearing: Fish in the Elevator, Stranger’s Dopamine together with a cover band presenting largely female rock classics, The Right Pill.
Organizer Helmuth Both for the Bürger.Bad.Godesberg e.V. was particularly pleased on this opening night to have two young bands appearing. A problem here is not so much the lack of youngsters playing music in the area but more that at this stage in their lives bands form and often have dissolved in the few months between promoters have the chance to hear them and book them further. Fortunately both Stranger’s Dopamine and Fish in the Elevator had music as intriguing as their names.
With regard to Stranger’s Dopamine their style is described by the Musik im Park website thus: “The musicians tell of the mysteries of the new and the dreamy path into the indeterminate”. As this tells you, Deepl’s translation from German didn’t help me much. What I can tell you is that they had an enjoyable, somewhat moody, approach that was very compelling and twin vocals from Uche Nwauko and Selome Abdulaziz that were refreshing – the former particularly promises to be someone to listen out for with her confident presence and smooth voice. Definitely a band to watch who will hopefully be gracing Bonn stages for a long time to come.
Where do you start with a band named Fish in the Elevator? Well for a start you can ask how they got their name. I forgot to, so if you are reading this – please explain. What really matters of course is the music and these fish certainly gave me a lift for the evening. All bright and breezy punk attitude and energy. They have a frontman who impressed me hugely with his ease at communicating with the audience – asking us to whistle along during one song he promised “Don’t worry, we’ll play so loud no one will hear you if you are not in tune!” oozing confidence that belies his tender years he has an enthusiasm that radiates out the fact that he’s having a great time playing, and suggests that if by chance you are also having a great time listening that’s even better. Great to listen to and great to photograph. What more could I want? Astoundingly they were ‘borrowing’ a bass player and had a female band member absent. Definitely, my highlight band of the evening and one that I hope will be around to enjoy for a few years yet. They have an EP in the works (due in July I believe?). Looking forward to hearing it.
No offense to the last band of the evening, but my own preference would have been to have three young bands playing their own music for the evening. The majority of organizers though know the pulling power of a cover band presenting recognizable hits. Enter the evening’s final musicians The Right Pill. The audience did seem to really come alive for the first time when Susan Hollender began the first line of ‘Mercedes Benz’ and was even so enthusiastic that they were sometimes even singing the lines before she got to them. ‘In the air tonight’ was a nice choice that went down well with the sizeable audience that had stayed throughout the three bands. Live music is all about having a good time, so nothing wrong with that, and Arno Labonte’s guitar gave the music enough of a rock edge to carry off the music.
There is a good dollop of Beth Hart in Hollender’s vocals for sure and I would love to hear her cover Beth’s own cover of Tom Wait’s ‘Chocolate Jesus’ for instance. Instead, the female rock vocal covers were a bit too predictable at times – ‘Ironic’, ‘Nobody’s Wife’, ‘Like the way I do’, the same numbers that Sunny Skies, bless them, were playing over the last few years. ‘Your Sex is on Fire’ (Kings of Leon) was a surprise addition and went down as dramatically as indeed the sun did towards the end of the evening.
A good audience turn-out then for a good evening of music. What the young bands lacked in musical dexterity they more than made up for in enthusiasm and it was a delight to see the sheer energy and musical passion that was on the stage.
31 May sees a change in musical direction but expect an equal amount of enthusiasm with the Blue Moon Bigband from 7 pm. See you there?