Stadtgarten 2023 – popNRW Evening

The sun continued shining for this weekend’s concerts at Stadtgarten Alter Zoll. Saturday saw three young bands presented by popNRW: Becky Sikasa, Florence Besch, and Easy Easy. The latter band’s name describes how it felt to be sitting on the lawn overlooking the beer garden and watching the setting sun glint off the surface of the Rhine.

First a quick intro of popNRW who presented music this evening for the first time at the Stadtgarten Festival. As the name suggests, popNRW’s aim is to promote young musicians in the NRW region and make them visible to a wider international music scene. 3songsbonn finds that a very good thing, and is pleased to put out some ‘Werbung’ in English to a wider English audience. Yes, World, there is some talented music coming out of the region (as this website attests) and tonight’s bands further emphasized that fact.

Presenter HaJo was clearly pleased with how the evening started. His smile was a mile wide at the end of Becky Sikasa‘s set and the applause when he pointed out “I bet you are all glad you got here early for tonight’s music!” showed he was not the only one impressed. Becky was, so her biography says, “Already singing at four years old”. Interesting to note is that a move to Scotland honed her songwriting skills. She describes herself as “Not black. Not white. Not quite Kenyan, or Swiss, not quite German or British; or maybe quite a bit of all of it. And that’s okay.”

The result of all this is a powerful, soul-filled voice and also some excellent lyrics. If there is a search for where she belongs in Becky’s lyrics it’s clear that there is one place she is most definitely at home – onstage. Definitely one to check out if you like warm, soulful lyrics with a bluesy backbeat as I do!

Florence Besch had a hard act to follow for sure. It didn’t help that her bass player had dropped out at the last minute, or that her sound is a very much more introverted one from her predecessor on the stage. The music rolled along pleasantly enough though even though it didn’t really grab attention and the vocals tended to get lost in the rhythm. Partly at fault was her placement after rather than before Sikasa. She rather cooled down than warmed up the audience for the headliners of the evening.

There was certainly a mega-jump in stage presence when Easy Easy stepped onto the stage at around 9 pm. Not really surprising, since the band has had some serious live workouts – at festivals and supporting amongst others Sportfreunde Stiller. Two band members at least were on home (Bonn) territory and the evening quickly had a local feel about it.

Indie Pop/Rock is their thing and they present it with part nonchalance and part witty repartee. Maybe that ‘Drop Acid’ guitar sticker is telling? In any case, how can you not enjoy a band who jumps around with such energy and enthusiasm exuding danceable pop tunes and with lyrics like “I, want to buy you something. But I don’t have any money – I don’t have any money!”.

We were asked to buy plenty at the merchandise desk as the band had recently invested in a ‘Bully’ wagon (Volkswagen Bus) that had gone from instant bargain when they signed the contract to instant deathtrap as soon as they had parted with their money and headed out on the road.

It will be a while before they can upgrade, and probably longer still until they hop from gig to gig in limousines, but I’m betting that bus is going to get a lot of wear and tear on the motorways of Europe in the coming months (Reeperbahn Festival in September is already on the list). Good so too. An excellent band to kick out the Blues with of an evening and certainly deserving of some international publicity via popNRW and 3songsbonn.





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