“I’ve been promoting concerts since 1977… I’ve never experienced anything like it” – Ernst Ludwig Hartz
What happens when, despite the old saying, the show really can’t go on? Here is a short interview with two men behind the beleaguered live music scene in Germany. Manni Glamowski would have been behind the scenes at this year’s Rock Hard Festival (hosting Accept and Blue Oyster Cult) and Ernst Ludwig Hartz would have been introducing the likes of Robbie Williams, Kraftwerk and Lionel Richie, Deep Purple at the Kunstrasen and Hofgarten right here in Bonn. Rockpalast asked them both for their thoughts, and fears, over the live music scene in Covid19 times.
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.
Four days of music as assorted as a box of chocolates, Rockpalast brought it’s twice yearly Crossroads show once again to the Harmonie in Bonn this week. From the Unknown (IndianAgeFlüster) through the rising stars (Die Nerven) to the established icons (Wolf Maahn) and Blues from finest (Sonny Landreth). If you missed out on a ticket – share mine…
It’s easy to take something like the regular Crossroads Festival at Bonn’s Harmonie for granted but I’m betting there are a lot of envious halls up and down Germany who would love to have Rockpalast introducing such showpiece evenings as we get down in Endenich. The four days this time around included Established bands JJ GRey & Mofro and The Great Crusades. Rising stars like Prince Bass-girl Nik West, and best of all – lots of new talent to discover.
It all began in the WDRstudios of Cologne’s Südstadt in 1976, and now it’s very latest edition is being recorded – in Bonn Endenich. ‘Rockpalast’ has of course become a Worldwide Rockmusic institution that has the ability to make(and possibly break) bands into a higher league on the success ladder and touring circuit. The venue is Bonn Harmonie and the bands experiencing a mix of anticipation, excitement and maybe nostalgic goosebumps under the blue neon ‘Rockpalast’ signs tonight are ‘Chain’, ‘Lisa & The Lips’ and ‘Imperial State Electric’.
The first Crossroads show from the mighty Rockpalast got underway with a band from my hometown, Portsmouth (UK that is). On the evidence of New Desert Blues and German punk rockers Angelika Express it’s going to be another bag of allsorts every evening – and I can’t wait!
“When we were selling 50,000 records a week,” remembers Chris Barron, “I’d walk into a mall to buy underwear and 300 kids would surround me!” A Harp playing blues girl and a powerpop band that a few years ago was all the rage with commercial tunes and witty lyrics. Stacie Collins was blowing harp and Chris Barrons band The Spin Doctors were prescribing a good time for all. The only losers were those who stayed at home.