Around ten years ago The Ortszentrum Dottendorf looked set to close its doors. The solution it seems was for the citizens themselves to look after business. The idea of a cultural centre was put forward and now, as a new decade begins, the Bürgervereins Dottendorf/Gronau e.V. seems to be on the crest of an ever growing wave as The first Dottendorfer Jazznacht show of 2020 with Dad’s Phonkey proved on Friday.
Well, he certainly left it late this year. The new CD was pressed just days before this year’s December evening at Bonn Folk Club. Regulars will know that Edinburgh singer-songwriter extraordinaire Simon Kempston made a ‘crossroads-like’ deal with John Harrison some years back – a secure guest-spot in return for a new CD. Since 2011 in fact, Simon has been a ‘regular’ in the literal sense of the word at the Club. With copies of a new CD neatly arranged on the merchandise table, same procedure as every year, all is right with the World at Dotty’s Sportsbar. Folk Club number 108 can begin!
What is there left to say about Julian Sas at Bonn Harmonie? Fact: this was his 18th appearance here since 2003. Fact: Most of those shows have been sold out within a few days. Fact: Julian Sas is one of Europe’s best guitar players. Fact: I’ve taken pictures of Julian’s devoted, mostly dutch, followers regularly over the years, and the faces don’t change. So what makes these people ‘fans for life?’. It’s Saturday night on a sunny November night in Bonn. Wintertime. Inside the Harmonie though it’s a hot and balmy evening – it’s Sas time…
The new disc ‘Means of Escape’ was recently nominated for Best Album of 2019 in the European Blues Awards, as well as being included in Joe Bonamassa’s personal Spotify Playlist of music from musicians who are keeping the Blues alive. It was recorded in as few takes as possible says the English guitarist behind it, in order to keep the live feel. Here we are then to test out just how well that live CD vibe aimed for by Danny Bryant matches a room full of Blues fans on a chilly November evening at The Harmonie
For those not wanting to wait (and those not wanting to pay 70+ Euros for a Kunstrasen ticket next July) this was the perfect Deep Purple presentation. Some compromise is inevitable of course, but how much and where? As Purpendicular With Purple original Ian Paice on drums step onto the Harmonie stage we are about to find out…
One of the most welcome surprises for me this year was the discovery at Dottendorf’s Blues Night that there is a band delivering smoky, vintage Chicago Blues with style in Bonn. Good reason then when I heard they were playing in a smokey Bonn Club to see them. The Chaingang Kings were at Session in Gerhard-Von-Are Strasse so I laced up my Boogie Shoes and got ready for a sweaty night of hard liquor, low lighting and Blues.
“Sing along if you recognize this one!”Laurence Jones calls out, before launching into a powerful version of the John Fogerty classic ‘Fortunate Son’ at Bonn Harmonie on Monday. Those present were indeed fortunate, this really was a devastating performance from the acclaimed British ‘Blueser’, truly live music from the heart and soul. For his last appearance here with Blues Caravan in 2014 Laurence Jones was just a youngster with star potential under the RUF Records roster, at 27 though he has very definitely made the step up to Premier League status.
It’s that time of year that many live music regulars at The Harmonie in Bonn look forward to. How else can you explain why the venue is regularly packed full for four days in a row of music by bands that most of the local visitors have never even heard, let alone seen before? Well, these concerts do come with the seal of approval from Germany’s (the Worlds?) most celebrated music programme – WDR Rockpalast. A programme that has been bringing music lovers legendary performances by the likes of Rory Gallagher, David Bowie and the Who since 1977. On this particular Thursday evening in Bonn it’s the turn of Australian Band The Black Sorrows and Holland’s Sven Hammond to get the Rockpalast Star treatment.