Baum’s Bluesbenders at 30

They’re not as old as the Blues itself, but Baum’s Bluesbenders have been around now for thirty years men and boys. Truth to tell there was still very much boyish fun on the faces of the four mature gentlemen on the Unter der Zeder stage. Let’s not forget another blues veteran in the form of tonight’s support act, Mighty Mike. Needless to say, a good time was had by all – including the eager crowd of listeners and dancers.

The colourful Mighty Mike in action

Mighty Mike was an interesting choice to get things started. A one-man blues band with an interesting repertoire that ranged from classics like ‘Catfish Blues’ through Buddy Holly’s ‘Dearest’ and The Black Keys. Mile’s sound lent itself very much to John Lee Hooker’s simple backbeat (courtesy of a foot pedal drum) and with electric rhythm guitar backing made for an entertaining introduction to the evening’s main event. With matching shirt and guitar – clearly putting in the effort for Bill Baum and Co.

And what can you say about Bill Baum and his Bluesbenders? I hear the German word ‘Urgestein’ used a lot when older bands are mentioned and it definitely relates perfectly to Bill, Blues Harp maestro Uwe Placke, bassist Rainer Wilke and master Irish drummer Francis Holzapfel. A quartet that knows every breath of the other members of the band. I wonder that they need to rehearse anymore!

If you know the Bluesbenders then you will know the songs played for the most part. No Caledonia ‘Caledonia‘ this time, but pretty well all the other popular Bluesbenders classics got a fresh run-out. As always, a favorite of mine was ‘Had My Fun’ with Uwe Placke’s superb Chicago Bliesharp pumping it along. Also a particularly excellent solo from Mr Baum himself on ‘Part Time Lover’.

Here’s to the next 30 years of Baum’s Bluesbenders!

A quick shout-out too for The Hip-Hop Project. Sean Mambwere, Tichaona Chikara and Terence Kapesa from South Africa delivered a super hip-hop set during the break. They will be making appearances in various Bonn events over the next couple of weeks, so keep an ear and an eye out for the talented trio.

So, almost at the end of another Unter der Zeder Season and it’s been an excellent one too. Many thanks to KuKuG, Kleines Theater, Kirsten Gorham for the sound and for everyone who regularly visited the concerts. There is only R & B Express on 28 August left to enjoy for this year’s programme so fingers crossed for sunshine and a full house. All concerned deserve it!

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