“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.
The theme at Dotty’s Sports Bar for Folk Club Bonn meet number 106 was colours. But are Black (Back to Black) and White (Nights in White Satin) actually colours? Another question – what was that red plastic barrel on John’s finger for? Pull up a chair (or risk sitting on the floor), grab a beer when the waitress comes round with her tray, and settle down for another evening of music in all shapes, sizes, and colours…
It’s not very often that you see Blues-Rock being played by just a drummer and guitarist. It’s rarer still for the drummer to be both female and pregnant. Welcome to the unconventional musical World of CC and Tone aka Little Hurricane as the duo bring their very individual brand of Lo-Fi-Indie Rock to Cologne’s Luxor venue. 3songsbonn generally stays true to the name. Every so often though there are bands playing not too far away that are just too promising to draw boundaries on.
The Poppelsdorfer Strassenfest has become a popular place to be over the years. Indeed, by 7pm I usually feel like an ant trying to cross a motorway without getting knocked down or indeed, squashed flat. Good news then that two bands I wanted to catch were due onstage before that watershed time of chaos. Winterfeld and Sunny Skies were the bands in question – yes, Sunny Skies playing whilst the sun was actually in the sky…
Now in its third year, the annual Blues Festival in Dottendorf’s Jazz stronghold at the Ortszentrum is a welcome event that really should attract a lot more attention than it does. Under the watchful eye of local Blues afficianado Bill Baum, you can be sure of quality music at an attractive price. This year’s event kicked off with an interesting combination of local youngsters the Chain Gang Kings and top Bielefeld Blues Man Michael Merwyk who has gigs with Larry Garner and guest appearances with Big Daddy Wilson to the credit of his CV as well as a super 2nd place in the 2013 Memphis International Blues Challenge.
Special Guest at this month’s Bonn Folk Club Johannes (Hannes) Epremian from the band Le Clou looks very serious in my opening picture, and so he should – he’s playing The Blues Cajun Style. John Harrison (with Eva on violin) though, as always had the first bite at this evening’s theme of Stormy Weather, and gobbled up the obvious choice with relish – Arlen and Hoehler’s classic of that very name that first saw the light of day with Ethel Waters in the early 1930s. It’s been covered since by everyone – from Bing Crosby to Bob Dylan – and is probably as familiar to the people of this planet as oxygen. A song that you would almost expect new-born babies to recognize.
All good things must come to an end, and so it was that a shower of glitter from the handheld keyboard of Markus Schinkel and a shower of rain from the Heavens marked the final night of the final weekend of this year’s marvellous Stadtgarten Season down by the Alten Zoll in Bonn. The music over the two nights from MT Wizard, Missine+Tripstoic, Dad’s Phonkey, Jin Jim and finally Markus Schinkel Voyager IV was always varied, always high quality and rewarded with an audience that stayed in large numbers throughout, come what may musically.