Layla Zoe certainly didn’t make it easy for herself. 2018’s superb double-disc ‘Gemini’ seemed to say everything that could be said and in the best way possible. It was electric, it was Blues, Funk, Gospel and Rock. It was the sum of all the releases before it. The subsequent ‘Retrospective Tour’ and disc suggested a watershed moment had been reached. Did it also leave the self-proclaimed firegirl literally with ‘Nowhere Left To Go’? – is this perhaps the aptest album title ever penned? Well, no, as it thankfully turns out. Whilst NLTG doesn’t re-invent the wheel as far as Layla’s music is concerned it is, thanks to plenty of new faces behind the songs, still a fresh as well as a strong statement from the heart. It also still showcases the lady’s amazing voice with that trademark emotional intensity that is the secret of Layla Zoe’s success.
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
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.
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.
Stan’s Blues Band has come a long way. The band formed in 1977 changed it’s name in 1979 to the sharper Nine Below Zero which was a wise move – can you imagine a band without an actual ‘Stan’ surviving with that name so long? Forty years on, and still rocking as one of Britains premier RnB bands, they took the temperature up despite their name with a lively set at Bonn Harmonie.
“Just got home after a hell of a gig in hell’s kitchen: the Harmonie Bonn” – Julian Sas describing his sold out 15th gig in consecutive years at the venue. If this is Hell then maybe the Devil does indeed have the best music…
There are three ‘givens’ in life: Death, taxes, and a Julian Sas gig at the Harmonie in November. At least it seems that way. The only change I can remember from the shows past is that I seem to vaguely recall there being room to move from one part of the hall to stand somewhere else. Or maybe that was just a fantasy. Certainly it hasn’t been possible for several years now – and Saturday night was no exception.