It might look smoothly asphalted to the eye, but the road to Dotty’sSports Bar for Folk Club Bonn‘s September meet was a rough one indeed. A long one too, as John Harrison will tell you. Involving numerous meetings with the owner and correspondence between Folk Club and the powers that be in Bonn. In the end, though it was a worthwhile journey. The Hockey pitch at Dotty’s proving to be an excellent open-air venue, and the weather being much kinder than anyone had a right to expect in the early days of Autumn. Perhaps God is a folk music fan? Or perhaps he just realised that good music was good for the souls of his creations in this Pandemic riddled World we are all enduring.
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…
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.
No, it’s nothing to do with Star Trek. In Bonn ‘Next Generation’ is a new concert series aimed at giving young local musicians with their own songs a chance to shine at a top venue. This time around it was the opportunity for David Nevory, Melchi, and Peanut Butter Spirit Lover (PBSL for short!) to show what they could do in front of a large and enthusiastic audience at The Harmonie.
Long before there was Skinny Lister and the Dropkick Murphy’s. Even before there was the Pogues, there was a ‘Folk Punk’ movement. Okay, it wasn’t so ‘in yer face’ as the later incarnations, but The Oysterband were up there singing crafted lyrics from a fire in their collective bellies. Now into their 43rd year, the fire is more a smoulder than a furnace, but after a half hour listening to the band on Thursday at Bonn Harmonie it was clear that the songs still matter – to both band and fans.
The theme this evening: Banjo. Cartoons come to mind of being sent to hell and Satan pointing to a cave filled with duelling banjo players. Also to mind was a surprising pleasant evening a few years ago at an international banjo festival in Bonn. I decided to focus on the latter and headed for Folk Club number 61 at Haus Müllestumpe.
‘Trains, boats, planes & Stuff’. That was the theme for Folk Club #56 How many would opt for the ‘Stuff’ choice I wondered. Would anyone go for the triple whammy and sing that old classic “Trains & boats & planes”? Maybe someone would find a song about trams? The wonderful thing about Folk Club meetings at Haus Mullestümpe is that anything could and probably will happen…
If this bass had a headstock it wouldn’t say ‘Fender’
John Harrison quoted me as saying that Bonn Folk Club was always a ‘liquorice allsorts’ show – which is to say that you never know quite what will come out; but it always turns out to be very tasty indeed. All I can say after last Fridays meet is that we may well need a bigger box in future – they were packed into Haus Müllestumpe like the proverbial kippers in a can.