For many people in Bonn, particularly teenagers and students, the Stadtgarten season at Alten Zoll is already an institution. An extension almost of the numerous teenagers often seen and heard in the shade of the University trees strumming guitars as the sun goes down. I’m sure that opening act in 2018, Cynthia Nickschas, has been one of those strummers. This time around though she had an audience of well over 2000 picnicking on the grass beside her. French electro Folkies Fergessen, Indie-Rockers Koj and Jazz quartet Radius completed the opening weekend of music under the setting sun.
The local paper reports that Sir Van Morrison said ‘Thank You’ before leaving the stage on this pleasantly warm evening in Cologne. The only words I can recall from Ireland’s celebrated and knighted (2016) musical son all evening were song names, barked more for the band to follow than for listeners to hear. Ultimately though, with such a legend, it’s the music that should do the talking; and it did so perfectly in front of a sold out Roncalliplatz audience.
Following their Karlsruhe show this week, the band’s website suggested that Simple Minds were raring to hit the Bonn Kunst!Rasen stage: “After a two-day break we are more than refreshed and very much looking forward to performing live in BONN tonight.” Singer and co-founder Jim Kerr will be 60 next year but is not living off of past hits as a well oiled but power-packed show proved. UK veterans Fischer-Z were also on good form to start a very hot and humid evening of good Rock music by the Rhine.
There are little photos on her in-ear monitors, alphabet letters are on her earrings, she’s rushing from stage side to stage side all the time. It’s very difficult to concentrate on Alanis Morissette as she makes her first ever appearance on the Kunst!Rasen stage. Easier to just close your eyes and let some of the best song lyrics of the 90’s wash over you.
There are not too many musicians treading the boards today with careers stretching back five decades but Steve Winwood at 70 still has the enthusiasm of a teenager when he straps on a Stratocaster or digs in with his Hammond Organ along with a talented band of colleagues. Support for the evening Gary Clark Jr was last seen in Bonn during Santana’s concert here, but is a highly rated guitarist in his own right.
A great evening of Music was guaranteed then at Kunst!Rasen this week.
“100 years of Blues & 60 minutes to play it”. That’s how Edinburgh Blues band The Blueswater describe their musical mission at the yearly Edinburgh Festival. Certainly, they play at an often frantic pace that suggests they might even cover all that ground in an hour. They even got an extra 30 minutes on top at Kult 41 on Sunday and sneaked in half the band for the support slot to shoe-horn in as much premium RnB as any sane, blues-loving human could hope for. Certainly, if you didn’t know by 10pm what the Blues was all about, then quite frankly, Jack – you dead!
Yes, that energetic youngster jumping with his Les Paul on the 3songsbonn logo top left of the website really is Jason Barwick. It comes from an iconic Rockpalast Cologne gig in 2009. Joe Bonamassa pulled the plug on TV crews, and as a result upcoming Grimsby band The Brew got their whole set broadcast. The rest, as they say, is history. The boy has grown to a man and the hair to over his shoulders, but the energy level has remained constantly at a scale of ten from ten as Tuesday’s gig at The Harmonie proved.
It’s shortly after 11.30 am. I’m standing on the roof of the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn. It’s called the General Anzeiger’s Sommergarten Season but the question bugging me is, will it rain? I’m English so I assume the worst, but the two ladies onstage in front of me have come prepared – songwise at least, as Bonn’s own Anne Haigis and Thüringen born Ina Boo kick off in classic thumb to the nose at grey skies fashion with Tony Joe White’s ‘Out of the Rain’. Gauntlet firmly laid down by messrs Haigis and Boo, the grey clouds go scurryingly on their way – one force of nature conquered by another. Anne is here on the back of her latest disc ’15 Companions’ and within ten minutes she has several hundred companions hanging on her every lyric.