From Brighton to Bonn – James Bay at Kunstrasen

I’m a firm believer that Brighton might well be the secret cradle of modern UK pop music.  Hitchin born James Bay cut his musical teeth in the bars of that very UK seaside town at open-mikes.  Now he’s heavily touted as a future Rockstar and warming up audiences for The Stones and Ed Sheeran.  His appearance, along with that of this year’s Eurovision winner Duncan Laurence, made a visit to Kunstrasen on Thursday too good to resist.

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Albert Hammond – It (Almost) Never Rains at Roncalli Platz

Albert Hammond smiles as he recalls midway through tonight’s show: “I often have people come up to me and say ‘I enjoyed the show.  But why so many cover songs?”.  During the current Songbook Tour though Hammond is able to put the record (literally) straight before each song.  “Here’s one I wrote that Julio Inglesias had a hit with (‘All the girls I’ve met before’), here’s one I co-wrote for Leo Sayer (‘When I Need You’) One I co-wrote for the Hollies (‘Air That I Breathe’)Roncalli Platz in Cologne was a chance to remind people just how prolific a songwriter he is – and he took his chance well.  An evening of familiar songs that, if they didn’t stretch back in time as far as the Cathedral towering behind the stage, still had a long and very successful history.

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Sunny Skies again in the Rheinpark


Just looking at this year’s programme of events for the Rheinaue Parkrestaurant is a mind-boggling affair.  From opening concert 8 July to the closing notes from local band Handmade on 30 August there is a concert virtually every evening.  Straight away then kudos to Walter Schnabel for organizing such a logistical helter-skelter.  That said though, the shows are some 90% cover-bands and 10% old-time Jazz, and I’m not too much a fan of cover-bands.  That’s something I first admitted to Rope Schmitz some 10 years ago now.  Rope, of course, is the frontman and a founding member of Bonn’s oldest Cover-band (from 1972 in fact) Sunny Skies.  Tonight they are playing at the Parkrestaurant Rheinaue, and I, the cover-band hater, am once again present with a camera and a notebook.  But WHY? you ask.  I’ll do my best to answer that one in the next paragraphs.

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Stadtgarten Season 2019 starts Friday

Milene (here from 2017) will open Stadtgarten 2019’s Music Season

If the sudden heatwave left Bonn’s inhabitants and visitors with no doubt that Summer has now arrived in force then the next news will: The Stadtgarten Season 2019 will soon be underway at Alten Zoll.

Friday 2 August sees the curtain go up on one of the most beautiful and most popular free music festivals in Germany.  By the end of August, 28 bands will have played to up to 2000 people per evening, picnicking on the nearby grass verge or dancing before the stage. With its motto of ‘Umsonst & Draussen’ (outdoors & free), The Alten Zoll stage will once again be a popular place for young and old to while away balmy Summer evenings.

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Do You Wanna?

Congratulations to Vanja Sky on the release of her first official video.
Croatia-born Vanja made a great impression on the RUF Blues Caravan Tour last year with Mike Zito and Bernard Allison.  She has now relocated to Baden-Württemberg, which is good news for all German lovers of honest Blues-Rock as she is more likely to be playing in your area soon.  In Bonn’s case, the next nearby date is at Urania Theatre in Cologne on 16 September.  Do you wanna be there?  Yes, you do!!

John Fogerty – Proud as Ever


The litmus-paper test of a memorable concert?  For me, a show only really works if I make the walk home afterwards with a tune from it lodged firmly in my head.  It hasn’t happened for a while now, but tonight I was truly spoilt for choice.  How could you choose between two Rock classics like ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and ‘Proud Mary’?  Plans for a support slot were dropped, and truthfully,  anyone would have just been a distraction.  This was a trip firmly focussed on the past – 50 years to be approximate, August 1969 to be precise.  History was made, iconic moments captured on film forever, an era captured on videotape – excepting one particular performance.  Here at Kunstrasen, we have the chance to enjoy what landed on the cutting room floor – the best songs of CCR Front-man John Fogerty.

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BOB without Beethoven – Classic Picnic time at Kunstrasen

“Welcome to Bonn’s most beautiful Concert Venue”.  Perhaps Beethoven Orchestra Bonn (BOB) Director/Conductor Dirk Kaftan was genuinely only making a point about the beautiful surroundings at Kunstrasen.  A few spectators at this year’s ‘Klassik Picknick’ might well have taken it as a sly ‘dig’ at the disastrous renovation plans of the Beethoven Hall just down the road, however.  Aside from the fact it would get a bit cold in December though it started me to thinking that perhaps they should keep the Kunstrasen stage where it is and just build a football stadium-style roof over the spectator area to make it all-weather friendly and give the Beethovenhalle up as the ‘bad job’ it has become?

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