Everyone knows John Belushi as Jake Blues. Some might know that Russell Crowe played him in an Australian Touring version of ‘The Blues Brothers’ during the 1990’s but few know that Jake actually comes from Bonn and his real name is Lothar Distelrath. I know because I saw him onstage in front of the Bonn Council Offices just last Saturday.
Under a warm and sunny sky in Bonn’s Marktplatz, the evening gets underway courtesy of acoustic Rock duo Krysmah. Formed out of the Deep Purple, Whitesnake coverband ‘Stargazer’. Detlef Kornath and Frank Nerger take their life in their hands by playing electric hard rock anthems like ‘Smoke on the Water’ and ‘Whisky in the Jar’ with not a Fender or Gibson electric in sight. Nerger is an excellent electric guitarist (actually a part of the ‘Heartful of Soul’ Band) so why not play the songs electric? I asked him. ‘”Acoustic makes it interesting” he smiled back. I just know that given the chance to play that famous bass riff from Purple I personally would want to play LOUD and ELECTRIC! But he has a point. The songs are interesting somewhat toned down and make me wonder if there is a music genre called ‘Folk Metal’ on the shelves somewhere.
Still getting my head around a German Bruce Springsteen after ‘Bosstime’ last weekend I was about to be confronted by a coverband who were themselves covering the ultimate Blues Coverband. Heart & Soul were formed by Lothar Distelrath (Jake) and Dirk ZePuntke (Elwood). Formed in 2002 the band bring their version of the ‘Blues Brothers’ to Parties, Summer Festivals and Street Events but they also have some prestigious and odd concerts under their collective belts – Alongside support slots for Kool and the Gang and Bony M have been a Birthday Party appearance for the then German Defence Minister Dr Peter Struck which led to an invitation to concerts for the troops in Sarajevo and Kosovo.
It’s certainly cheaper to be an acoustic duo than go on the road as an eleven-piece band but ‘Heart & Soul’ don’t skimp on quantity – or
musical quality as it happens. They also deliver a fair bit of Rock n Roll Theatre as on ‘Flip, Flop and Fly’ with gaudy Bermuda shirts and comic wigs together with light dance routines as with ‘Shake a Tailfeather’. But most importanly they know how to play Rhythm and Blues as proved by meaty versions of ‘Messin with the Kid’ and ‘She Caught the Katy’ that simply flip, flop and fly by. A fair few people are joining in too – including a wheelchair bound gent who seems to have more energy and agility on four wheels than many of us standing.
Typically the concert atmosphere gets better and better as the evening rocks on. A shame that there is no beer/wine tent as at the summer Garden shows – presumably a nod to the gastronomy providing seats and meals in the surrounding Cafe’s. With typical Open Air in Bonn timing, just as the crowd is at its largest and the light at it’s most magical, it’s 10 pm and time to stop. Hopes that the infamous Blues Brothers will treat this rule with disdain – but no – I guess their days of being just ahead of the law are over. The lesson for tonight was ‘Blues’ my friends, and the Reverends Jake and Elwood left the stage to rapturous applause – Gods work done.
I’d happily book these guys for my Church, Birthday, Wedding or Bar mitzva.