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.
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.
Albert Hammond smiles as he recalls midway through tonight’s show: “I often have people come up to me and say ‘I enjoyed the show. But why so many cover songs?”. During the current Songbook Tour though Hammond is able to put the record (literally) straight before each song. “Here’s one I wrote that Julio Inglesias had a hit with (‘All the girls I’ve met before’), here’s one I co-wrote for Leo Sayer (‘When I Need You’) One I co-wrote for the Hollies (‘Air That I Breathe’). Roncalli Platz in Cologne was a chance to remind people just how prolific a songwriter he is – and he took his chance well. An evening of familiar songs that, if they didn’t stretch back in time as far as the Cathedral towering behind the stage, still had a long and very successful history.
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.
The Harmonie stage looks strangely bare considering five musicians have set up on it. There’s only a single Fender Telecaster propped up in front of a battered speaker cabinet for Henrik Freischlader himself. Over on the merchandise stall, there is no sign of t-shirts, back-catalogue cd’s or signature Stetson caps. Just two cardboard boxes – one with the new release as cd and the other with its vinyl counterpart. Travelling Light could be the Tour motto.
They are now so much of a musical institution in Bonn that it’s hard to imagine a music scene here without Bill Baum and his partners in music The Bluesbenders. It was then, a mark of the respect Bill has gained from the Blues scene, that for his 25th Anniversary show at Bonn Harmonie, Bill was joined by a man nominated in three categories for this year’s International Blues Awards, Richie Arndt. It was guaranteed to be a good evening for Bonn Blues lovers.
Squinting into the harsh sunlight onto the stage before me, it’s all to clear that it’s almost Autumn – and this is the last Stadtgarten concert evening of 2018.
Will the final notes played this year be amongst the most memorable? Gentree, Galactic Superlords and Electric Sandwich are about to answer my question. No question that the band names are amongst the quirkiest of this, or indeed any year, but will the music be as interesting as the monikers? This is also a first for The Harmonie as a contributing partner to the Stadtgarten season.