Hofgarten Concerts – All You Need To Know

Robbie Williams

Visitors to the main University Building (Hofgarten) towards Alten Zoll will have noticed that things are happening there. It’s all in preparation for four concerts originally planned to celebrate the Beethoven Anniversary. Better late than never – the last week of August will feature concerts by
Die Fantastischen Vier (26 August), Deichkind (27 August), Kraftwerk (28 August) and Robbie Williams (30 August)

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Bargel, Bonn and Blues

You can’t live in this neck of the woods in Germany as a music fan and not hear certain names. One of the first I heard when working in Cologne was of course BAP. Another that floated around in similar circles was Richard Bargel. It’s taken rather longer than it should have, but I finally got to see the Cologne Blues legend as part of this year’s Stadtgarten concert series and it was well worth the wait. There’s Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan and Willy DeVille in the mix , but out of it all comes the very individual sound of Richard Bargel.

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RIP Kal David

Very sad to hear that, following heart problems and a resultant bout of pneumonia, Kal David has passed away. Visitors to Mr Music in Bonn might remember Kal together with Lauri Bono playing a memorable live session in the shop in April of 2018.

Kal , together with partner Lauri Bono, worked with both Etta James and Johnny Rivers on tour as well as heading up a weekly jam session in Hollywood that introduced many top musicians including Stevie Wonder, John Entwistle, Larry Carlton, Brian Wilson, Stephen Stills, Joe Walsh and Paul Young. David’s musical CV also included work with seminal English bluesman John Mayall. I remember a warm and friendly man from my encounter with him at Mr Music. Thoughts go out to Lauri Bono for her loss.

Happy 10th Anniversary Kunstrasen

The time of this picture is 20:15:19 and the date 29.06.2012
It’s the first picture I took of the first-ever Kunstrasen headliner, Lou Reed, at the venue’s opening show.

Museumsplatz, scene of shows by Elton John, Liza Minelli, David Bowie… had suddenly been swept away from the promoters. The future for top stars in Bonn looked bleak…

Now, ten years later, Roland Kaiser brought the tenth anniversary season to a sold-out close.

Whilst the late great Lou Reed is sadly no more, 3songsbonn would like to say thank you to Ernst-Ludwig Hartz and Martin Nötzel for ten years of concerts by the Rhine. Here’s to the future of great music in the open air in Bonn.

Gentlemen, I salute you!

Stadtgarten – An Evening With PopCamp

PopCamp is an excellent project from the Deutschen Musikrats that helps young musicians develop their music, and advises on all things – from concerts, through marketing to recording. That’s good news for musicians. It’s also good news for music lovers as it gives us an overview of upcoming musical talent in Germany. More than a good enough reason then to spend the evening next to Alten Zoll in Bonn Centre. So grab a beer from the beer garden and join me with a picnic blanket on the grass under the trees, where there is protection from the hot Summer sun but a good view of the stage and acoustically a good place to listen.

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Lessons in Love – Katie Melua at Brückenforum

The young waif of 2003’s ‘Call Off The Search’ is long gone. 

That was the first incarnation of Katie Melua that I remember – at Museumsplatz in 2007.

The year  2013 saw not just a new venue (Kunstrasen) but a new Katie too, brought back to Earth as she then said by the low of a breakdown in 2010, and the high of a marriage (to Superbike-racer James Toseland) 

Now, in 2022, enter yet another Katie Melua in a new venue again (this time Brückenforum). Freshly announced as pregnant by The Sun Newspaper (although it was rather hard to miss how her guitar stuck out as she herself joked) but also keen to talk about the Art of songwriting and with fresh songs too. 

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Stadtmusik Spreads Out in 2022

After a Covid induced break the one-day Stadtmusik Festival was back in Bonn this weekend.  Highlights were undoubtedly Anne Haigis and Cynthia Nickschas.  With stages this time in Bonn Centre, Duisdorf, Kennedybrücke and Bad Godesberg’s Konzertmuschel topped off with a closing concert back at Alten Zoll it was spread out very much more than usual though.

Mags at Friedensplatz

Being short on preparation time these days I set out for Bonn City Centre to catch this year’s Stadtmusic 2.0 Tag.  It was something of a surprise then to find only the sound of silence (well, as silent as hundreds of shoppers can be) at usual venues Bottlerplatz and Marktplatz.  Way at the back of Friedensplatz there was music that sounded like someone had a radio on loud, but heck, at least I could hear music.  I was in time to catch local singer/songwriter Mags playing quiet acoustic songs in front of a smallish group of attentive listeners.  It was three o’clock and I had planned to make my way around the various stages as in the past until the closing concert at Alten Zoll. I couldn’t imagine staying here until 6:30 pm though.

I abandoned my plan and decided to head for the most promising stage out of the many on offer – Bad Godesberg had Milene and Cynthia Nickschas  (I missed Uwe Arenz and Heike Kraske as they were playing whilst I was at Friedensplatz) so that was my choice.

On my way to the train station, I could see several hundred people massed around a stage at Münsterplatz where pre-recorded music was being pumped out at a surprisingly (for Bonn) loud level as a man in a large red wig and dress rushed urgently back and forth on a stage whilst singing his lungs out – but it was not my sort of music.  It seemed a pity that Stadtmusik was deprived of the main stage as well as virtually all other stages.  Strange indeed.

Milen in Bad Godesberg

Down at the Muschel in Bad Godesberg where live music, I am told, used to be a regular feature with orchestras to enjoy,j music was back again – and excellent it was too.

Milene has now dropped an ‘e’ to become Milen and also changed her musical style a lot if today’s show was to go by.  I last saw her at Alten Zoll some years ago with a very pop-oriented sound and band.  This afternoon she was backed by an altogether jazzier outfit and her velvety voice was a fine way to relax in the park. 

Cynthia Nickschas (and Christian Zerban)

Cynthia Nickschas was Cynthia Nickschas of course.  Having said that, her band was a little different.  No fiddle player for one thing, which I hope is only temporary as Alwin Moser’s tuneful accompaniment lends so much to her gypsy sound.  Good to see Christian Zerban onstage though, particularly with his sax playing.  Overall a rockier sound I thought, and one that makes the wait for Cynthia’s new CD all the more unbearable.  It’s in the can she said – can’t wait to hear it Cynthia.

A rather odd Stadtmusik this year then.  I hope that in future the venues will be closer together again so that there is somewhere to go between sets on the various stages.  Certainly, the current tramline repairs and subsequent bus/tram replacement services did no favours for those wanting as I did to enjoy lots of music as was possible in the past.  Great to have Stadtmusik Tag back then, but please next year don’t spread out so much and please give the Münsterplatz stage over to the festival too.  Maybe the other stages could also be as loud as that one was this year?  I guess that would be asking too much.