It’s coming to the end of a long and busy day in Bonn Marktplatz. There are several hundred people watching Makeda as she sings ‘The Day I Loved You Most’. But for a handful of votes, she would have instead been singing this very song tonight in front of several million people in Tel Aviv. Eurovision’s loss is Bonn’s gain though, as she joins top young Bonn Jazz drummer Richard Münchhoff and his Band, to bring the curtain down on this Democracy Festival Day on Marktplatz with a classy presentation of Pop/Jazz.
There are days when rather than go out to a show, you’d rather sit back and enjoy a glass of wine in the sunshine? Bad Godesberg was the ideal place for you then on Sunday evening.
Theaterplatz saw the first ever GoVinum Wine Festival. It had its problems weatherwise on Friday and Saturday, but Sunday revealed some sunshine and blue skies. I put the improvement down to my old Folk Club friends John Harrison and Paolo Pacifico who I’m told had brought the best of acoustic blues to the square earlier in the day. This may have been the first such Festival in Bad Godesberg, but already I’m thinking that Bonn City Centre could learn a thing or two from the organizers. Plenty of room to spread out. Rather than a big square with a stage at one end, trestle tables in the middle and wine/food stands around the edge as is the case in Münsterplatz, there were two stages, one at each end, and not pointing at each other. It split the square up pleasantly I thought.
Rolk ‘Kiki’ Schumacher
The City Centre Wine Festival seems to be somewhat bereft of live music nowadays. Probably a result of the usual complaints about noise. Not that Bad Godesberg was without its complainers I suspect. I saw one middle-aged lady walk past the R&B Express stage with her figures in her ears and accusing looks pointed at the band. I really am at a loss with such people. It was after all only 5pm in the City Centre of Bad Godesberg. Ten years ago, the music would have been twice as loud. Hopefully, it won’t go the same way here as it seems to have in the main City, where the music is too quiet to really be enjoyed by the audience until at some point it will just be considered a distraction from the wine drinking.
Of course, music, when played badly, can be hard to bear. The two bands I caught on this fine afternoon though were certainly worth hearing loud and clear.
R&B Express in the sunshine
The R&B Express had an excellent choice of material culled from the Rnb/Jazz scene. My favourite of the evening was undoubtedly their take on BB King’s ‘When Love Comes To Town’. I liked too the funky sax and vocals of Rolf “Kiki Schumacher when they played Tower of Power’s ‘Diggin on James Brown, and The classic Blues of ‘Worksong’ that I last heard some years ago in the set of Ana Popovic was well delivered by singer Linda Meissner. An excellent band that I’ve not heard before, but now I’m looking forward to their appearance at the Godesberg Festival ‘Music im Park’ on 22 May after last year’s roaring success.
The theme of Folk Club Bonn #102, was ‘Animals’ and with it’s ‘All creatures great and small’ reach it generated probably the most theme-oriented songs of any club meeting to date. Kangaroos, pug dogs, sparrows, bees, ducks, geese, dragonflies… There would have been one about emus if someone had written such a song (and now I will wait for you to check Google and tell me I’m wrong!!!)
Okay, yes, there’s ‘Emu Song’ by John Williamson. I was wrong. Now let’s get back to Dotty’s Sports Bar before the last seat is taken on this zoological musical ride of an evening with John Harrison and special guest from Birmingham David Fisher.
In 2015, if you were at Rockpalast for JJ Grey & Mofro in the Harmonie, you had a very pleasant surprise indeed in the form of Cornwall Power-Blues trio Wille & The Bandits. You won’t have forgotten the show so easily – not least for the sight of Wille Edwards and the rasta hair ‘growing’ out from the lid of his battered black top-hat. My reaction at the time was: “Harmonie, Book these guys ASAP if not sooner”. Well, they did, and this was my third visit to see this excellent trio on a stage alive and rocking, where their music very much belongs.
Stéphane Avellaneda will be familiar to many readers. I remember first seeing him as the new drummer behind Ana Popovic some years ago now. My thoughts then were that he was a rock drummer and that he was LOUD too!. After a couple of shows though, it became apparent that Stéphane could also play subtle accompaniments too, and was a man always ready to experiment a little with the sound. Of course, within the confines of the Ana Popovic Band, it was the lady in charge who dictated the shots. Fair enough, it’s her band and her songs. Fast forward to 2019, and with Ana Popovic now ripping it up a storm Stateside for much of the year with her band, Stéphane has taken the opportunity to team up with French vocalist/flautist Rachel Ombredane to make an intriguing debut disc via Kickstarter donations. The result is a duo named RosaWay and an excellent Jazz/Synthpop EP named ‘Stranger’
Michael Jackson seems to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these days. Rüdiger Baldauf’s Jackson Trip was actually released in 2017, but with the current Jackson Art retrospective at Bundeskunsthalle, now is the perfect time for the top trumpeter from Bensberg to bring a part of Jackson that is in no dispute back in the public eye – his incredible contribution to Funk/Soul and Pop music.
Whoever first said you don’t get anything for nothing had never attended Bonn Folk Club. They certainly would have changed their minds if they were at Dotty’s Sportsbar/Restaurant for FCB #101. It was a night on which we actually enjoyed multiple ‘somethings for nothing’ in the form of two excellent headline acts from the Folk World – and that’s before factoring in the additional ‘something for nothings’ that came in the form of numerous local and visiting musicians who once again dropped by to perform a song or three. Here’s the low-down on an evening with Daria Kulesh, Lindsay May and many other contributors to another magical evening of acoustic bliss.