Chris de Burgh live in Stuttgart

Chris de Burgh? Again? Yes, indeed. The current tour features two old albums instead of a new one. The first set of the show consisted of the Moonfleet songs. “Moonfleet & Other Stories” is among de Burgh’s best albums. The first half of the concert featured the thirteen tracks that tell the story of the novel “Moonfleet” (from 1898). After the taped symphonic overture, the band began with a very pleasant volume level. The Beethoven-Saal in the Liederhalle was sold out. The audience cheered and was given a wild ride with smugglers, betrayal, storms, love, friendship etc. Of course, Chris de Burgh is not a wild performer. He’s a storyteller. A superb light show augmented the performance without distracting from the music. There were the rocking songs and the emphatic ballads. There was a shanty and a dramatic middle part. In short, there was everything that makes Chris de Burgh Chris de Burgh. I loved every minute of the set.

After the intermission it was time for another album set. “Into the Light” has sold more copies than any other album by de Burgh. “Borderline” was thrown in for good measure, right before the sequel “Say Goodbye to It All”. A few songs felt slightly too out of date. It’s not 1986 anymore. Still, the synth sounds and the relentless catchiness were thrilling. “The Ballroom of Romance” was particularly groovy. “The Lady in Red” was held back until after “The Leader” trilogy and a couple of solo songs. From then on, the audience stood on their feet. Everybody had a good time with all-time classics such as “Missing You”, “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” and “High on Emotion”. The long notes were sung a bit shorter than 30 years ago, but apart from that it was a flawless performance from start to finish. Lots of songs were played that hadn’t been on the setlist for quite some time (or ever). Sure, the encore was all ballads. Still, the audience got 2.5 hours of music. The applause was roaring by the time the band left the stage for good. Below is the setlist from Stuttgart (30th October 2019).

  1. The Light on the Bay
  2. Have a Care
  3. Go Where Your Heart Believes
  4. The Escape
  5. The Days of Our Age
  6. The Secret of the Locket
  7. My Heart’s Surrender
  8. Treasure and Betrayal
  9. Moonfleet Bay
  10. The Storm
  11. Greater Love
  12. The Moonfleet Finale
  13. Last Night
  14. Fire on the Water
  15. The Ballroom of Romance
  16. Borderline
  17. Say Goodbye to It All
  18. The Spirit of Man
  19. Fatal Hesitation
  20. One Word (Straight to the Heart)
  21. For Rosanna
  22. The Leader
  23. The Vision
  24. What About Me?
  25. There Goes My Heart Again
  26. Where Peaceful Waters Flow
  27. The Lady in Red
  28. Africa
  29. Missing You
  30. Don’t Pay the Ferryman
  31. High on Emotion
  32. The Snows of New York
  33. The Moonfleet Finale

My impressions of the 2019 Wizard Rock sampler

Check out the whole thing at!

PUSSYCAT DOLORES: Ministry Has Fallen – This one has excellent vocals, thoroughly produced, augmented by sublime synths. The music reminds me of FROU FROU. Of course, I have no idea of current pop music. The drum computer ruins the whole thing a bit. It could have been more moody without the hyperactive hihat, I guess.

SONORUS: Arthur Weasley – The ska party starts now. The chorus reminds me of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. Could be worse. Somehow I associate the wizard’s world with drama and struggle. This is a good reminder that there has to be good times, as well.

PERCY AND THE PREFECTS: I’m Sorry Harry Potter – This indie rock song is a bit too occupied with its harmony vocals and rhymes. It could be catchier. The lyrics work well, not just a few words and slogans but fitting throughout the song.

HOW AIRPLANES FLY: Poetry in Motion – Melancholic, yet upbeat folky man with guitar music – yes. Thank you. This is my favourite song, so far.

THE DOLLY SHAKES: I Wish Luna Lovegood Was My Friend – A rather good wizard rock song from the 60s. The lyrics are great, the music is good, the 60s are now, right?

SHANNON SWEENEY: Chocolate Frogs Radio Spot – If you know me, you know I like short songs. I like chocolate. Hence, I like this tune.

LOSING LARA: Owl Post Mishaps – “Wizards through the eyes of Muggles” is a perspective I strongly appreciate. The music is a tad harmless, but so is the topic.

THE SWEDISH SHORTSNOUTS: Scream Like a Mandrake – One can always rely on Swedish hard rock. This one has a nice shuffle groove and a cool organ. The overall production might be a bit too controlled, too much on the safe side. There is also an ALICE COOPER/”School’s Out” vibe going on. What’s the magic spell to make the band open for DEEP PURPLE?

PAIGE 394: Hagrid’s Keys – Why does this song remind of a new DREAM THEATER ballad? Is it the chord changes? The elegy? The music has its own flair, but it’s not really my cup of tea.

TOTALLY KNUTS: Goodbye – There a moments where I’m in the story with the emotion. And then there are moments where I see the singer in a YouTube home video eyeing the lyric sheet.

HOMO QUI VIXIT: Halloween – This is probably the most lo-fi contribution. The spoken interludes are great. Is there a touch of BRIGHT EYES in there? Do I even know more than one BRIGHT EYES song?

THE LOVEGOODS: Invincible – THE LOVEGOODS sound a bit like THE CRANBERRIES going to Hogwarts. It’s certainly a treat for fans of the 90s.

SLYTHERPUFF: Rock the House – I really like the band name and I like the song name. But where are the guitars? This could be a radio hit.

POTTÖRHEAD: Jesus Has a Horcrux – Our contribution is a mix of pop/punk and potentially offensive lyrics. The production is too polished, if you ask me. Then again, it’s probably just my voice that bugs me. We only had a couple of song ready, even though we’re currently writing for our next album.

THE ARKADIAN: Aragog – Guitars! Drums! This could become SPINAL TAP. Or is it FOREIGNER with some drive? The cheesy chorus is a bit to light for the topic, I guess. Still, the vocals are awesome. The composition certainly does Aragog justice. Very cool. Well done. One of my favourite tracks on this year’s compilation and one of my favourite wizard rock songs.

THE 8TH HORCRUX: The Sorting Hat (Demo) – The return of the pop hihat. I’m tempted to return to “Aragog”. Weirdly enough, there is a vibe that reminds me of BON JOVI’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

HAWTHORNE & HOLLY: Occlumency – The stereo mix makes this one a bit creepy under headphones. The could have been more dynamics, I guess, to give this one more than one dimension.

SOLITARY SNAPE: Brain Room – This is only the second or third ukulele track. The chorus is great. It’s a very relaxed song. I like it.

GRACE KENDALL: Make It Better – Enchanting vocals, more ukulele. The song’s a bit softer than the previous “Brain Room”. It’s probably more difficult to convey positivity, so thumbs up for the uplifting mood and the dreamy atmosphere.

DOTS AND LINES: Pretty Good at Quidditch – Is this an a single-voice cappella song? It is. It somehow works, even though I imagine all sorts of arrangements while listening. I like how it starts somewhat slow and then gets a bit more dense without disturbing the mood. I like song like this because it’s surprising and good and it has its own style.

AUGUAMENTI: Sapphic Magic – This pop/rap/something song has a hard time after the cool DOTS AND LINES track. I guess the rap parts are good, but I struggle with the more melodic parts. Sorry.

THEY MIGHT BE HALF-GIANTS: Slytherin – Oh my, this is fun. I don’t think I’ll listen to this one for pleasure. The ending is just too far out. The whole thing is fun, though, and stands out. It certainly made me smile.

MUGGLE SNUGGLE: Winky’s Hangover – Cheers! I raise my glass to you.

SELF-DEFENSIVE SPELLWORK: Graveyard of Buried Hopes – What a gloomy, moody song; the vocals sound a bit too whispered, in my opinion. Good music, anyway. I do need some sunshine now.

SARA IDANI: Expecto Patronum – Glockenspiel for the win. Then it takes a turn for 80s pop synth/drum music. I already see the single with three different dance mixes in front of me. The vocals are good and really suit the song. The lyrics give the pop music a different feel, I really like this! Now if only Mike Oldfield could add a some guitars…

All in all, my favourites are SARA IDANI, DOTS AND LINES, THE ARKADIAN along with SOLITARY SNAPE, HOW AIRPLANES FLY and PUSSYCAT DOLORES. Hooray for everyone on the compilation and tons of thanks to Grace Kendall for bringing it all together.

Wizards Give a Shit

POTTÖRHEAD contributed a live track to the wizard rock charity compilation “Wizards Give a Shit”. Check it out! The lyrics are listed below.

Last year I went to visit the Bielefeld School of Wizardry
Said goodbye to Hogwarts and took a boat to Germany
All the German teachers really took good care of me
They showed me the city that’s not there in reality
And on the streets I saw
Small piles in rainbow colors
And when I asked the locals
They said that this is Einhornscheiße
Einhornscheiße – yellow, red and blue

The Germans taught me potions
The Germans taught me German spells
They explained the rainbow piles and their sweet and pungent smells
The city and its unicorns are banished from reality
Since that magic accident at the Bielefeld School of Wizardry
Still the unicorns produce
Small piles of rainbow colors
And when you step on them
Your foot is stuck in Einhornscheiße
Einhornscheiße – yellow, red and blue

Einhornscheiße – yellow, red and blue
Einhornscheiße – green and orange, too

Finally: The Brandos – Los Brandos – Extended Single

Finally. Finally. Back in 2015, the Brandos were crowdfunding the recording of their next album (“Los Brandos”). Backers were to receive an exclusive single. I blogged about it. Now – finally – the perk(s) have arrived! Rather than commenting on the epic delay, I want to share my experience of listening to the single.

Music can be fascinating when it provides new, original, possibly progressive ideas – it can be a sonic journey into the unknown. Music can also be fascinating when it provides the feeling of belonging, of familiarity, of home – it can be like meeting an old friend and falling right back into a conversation that went on a break when the two of you last met. The extended single I received a little while ago belongs into the latter group. By the time I heard the acoustic live version of “My Friend, My Friend” I had a melancholic smile on my face. By the time the pipes in “The Warrior’s Son” kicked in I had forgotten about any delay. It was pure bliss.

My first contact with the Brandos was their debut “Honor Among Thieves”, a great piece of guitar rock with a special mood and amazing vocals. Next came “The Light of Day – the single”, a compilation of b-sides and unreleased live material. It showed a much more versatile band. There were rock and roll classics. There were acoustic ballads about longing for “Cheyenne” and “The Other Side” of the Berlin wall. There was the energetic title track about not giving up. I was intrigued – and impressed enough to check out the upcoming concert in Stuttgart. That was back in 1995. (The band delivered a flawless gig; I was hooked.)

Now in 2019, I got that single-feeling once again. I had hoped that the single would have some rarities, sure. Not just a remix of an album track and a live version of “Gettysburg”. Well, this extended single delivers the goods! After a couple of album tracks there is a solid rock song (“Love Man”). And then it’s time for a collection of live gems. I really like the balance of acoustic and amplified recordings, of original Brandos material and cover versions. The sound quality is good. The songs just flow. Finally, we get a proper recording of Ernie singing “Stepping Stone”. Frank Giordano belts out “Jailer Bring Me Water” – and I feel like I’m back in 1996. Awesome!

The 1987 live recordings of “Hard Luck Runner”, “A Matter of Survival”, and “Honor Among Thieves” are among my favourite tracks on the disc. They sound familiar, yet a bit raw, played with a lot of passion and determination. It’s been a while since the band played these songs live so it’s a real pleasure to indulge in this piece of rock music history.

There are two songs that were already on the “Light of Day” single: “We Are No Man” is now an acoustic live version and “Have Love Will Travel” in 1987 lacked the harmonica but still rocks. All in all, I (and the other backers) got an hour (!) of rare Brandos material that brings back plenty of good memories.

Lektüre 2018

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Christoph Hardebusch: Feuerstimmen
  • Flake: Heute hat die Welt Geburtstag
  • John Green: Schlaft gut, ihr fiesen Gedanken
  • Robert Jordan: Lord of Chaos
  • Robert Jordan: A Crown of Swords
  • A. Lee Martinez: Zu viele Flüche
  • Robert Jordan: New Spring
  • Ernest Cline: Armada
  • Robert Jordan: Der Weg der Klingen
  • Stanislaw Lem: Der Mensch vom Mars
  • Annie Darling: The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts
  • Robert Jordan: Winter’s Heart
  • Tom Winter: Der Sirius-Schatten
  • Jana Burbach & Hernán D. Caro: Stimmlos
  • Becky Albertalli: The Upside of Unrequited

Quiet Lane live in Fellbach

Gestern spielten Quiet Lane in Fellbach im Blue U. Obwohl der Auftrittsort gut unter der Erde versteckt war, kamen einige Leute und hörten sich das Pforzheimer Duo + Bassistin an. Der Großteil des Programms bestand aus Stücken der neuen CD “When Dust Dances on a Quiet Lane”. Es gab aber auch ältere Songs, ein Gospel-Lied, ein neues Stück (“Feet”) und eine Premiere (“A Different Kind of Sorrow”?). Die Musik lebt von der dynamischen Akustik-Gitarren-Basis und den sich darauf entfaltenden Stimmen. Mal gemeinsam, mal abwechselnd lieferten die beiden Sänger eine beeindruckende Leistung ab, die man so zusammen mit ein paar Dutzend Gleichgesinnten aus nächster Nähe erleben konnte. Das Tempo wurde auch innerhalb von Liedern häufiger variiert, so dass niemand einschlief, der Auftritt aber auch nie in Stress ausartete (oder gar Ohrstöpsel erforderte).

Nur sporadisch bietet das Liedmaterial poppige Hooklines. Stärker werden Stimmungen und eben das Miteinander der Stimmen betont. Zwischen den Stücken gab es schwäbische Anekdoten zur Musik und zu kohlensäurehaltigen Getränken. Nach “Cyanide” gab es dann noch Zugaben inklusive dem melancholischen “Neverending”.

Quiet Lane live in Fellbach (Foto: Jutze)

  1. Heavenly Peace (The Gospel)
  2. Limits
  3. Feet
  4. Praise the Lord – I Saw the Light
  5. Summer Nights
  6. Dance
  7. Maybe Just a Broken Heart
  8. I Wish
  9. #41
  10. When Dust Dances
  11. A Different Kind of Sorrow (?)
  12. Cyanide
  13. Neverending
  14. Heute hier, morgen dort
  15. Another Day

Lektüre 2017

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Christoph Weißenfels: Ischen Impossible II
  • Hagen Liebing: Meine Jahre mit “Die Ärzte”
  • Ernest Clive: Ready Player One
  • DJ BoBo & Judith Langhans: Popstar – Der ganz normale Wahnsinn
  • Jessica Winter: Break in Case of Emergency
  • Mischa Kaléko: Das lyrische Stenogrammheft
  • Benedict Wells: Vom Ende der Einsamkeit
  • Markus Zusak: Die Bücherdiebin
  • Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl
  • Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident
  • Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code
  • Wolfgang Hohlbein & Heike Hohlbein: Der Greif
  • Tommy Jaud: Vollidiot
  • Robert Jordan: The Great Hunt
  • Trudi Canavan: The Magician’s Guild
  • Andreas Eschbach: Exponentialdrift
  • John Fogerty: Mein Leben – meine Musik
  • Robert Jordan: The Dragon Reborn
  • Lois Tilton: Babylon 5: Im Kreuzfeuer
  • Trudi Canavan: The Novice
  • Trudi Canavan: The High Lord
  • Isolde Heyne: Lösegeld
  • John Vornholt: Babylon 5: Tödliche Gedanken
  • John Vornholt: Babylon 5: Blutschwur
  • Mape Ollila: Once Upon a Nightwish – Die offizielle Biografie 1996-2006
  • Ingo Siegner: Der kleine Drache Kokosnuss auf der Suche nach Atlantis
  • Felix Huby: Bienzle und die schöne Lau
  • Felix Huby: Paul Pepper und die tickende Bombe
  • Felix Huby: Bienzle stochert im Nebel
  • Janusz A. Zajdel: In Sonnennähe
  • Robert Jordan: The Shadow Rising
  • Andy Weir: Artemis
  • Robert Jordan: Die Feuer des Himmels
  • Bruce Dickinson: What Does This Button Do?

Jutze live in Konstanz (Splitternacht)

Am letzten Donnerstag hatte ich das Vergnügen bei der Splitternacht im K9 in Konstanz ein paar 52-Sekunden-Lieder zu spielen. Außer mir traten unter anderem die lauffreudigen Motorsensen auf, deren Lied “Mein Projekt” mir besonders gut gefiel. Meine Setlist sah so aus:

  1. Die wichtigen Fragen
  2. Einkaufszettel
  3. 79 Jahre
  4. Tapirlied
  5. Konrad
  6. Fremde Leute
  7. Der Speckgürtel von Paderborn
  8. Reis

The Brandos live in Metzingen

It was my 20th Brandos concert, yet the first in almost ten years. The band was on a bit of a hiatus. Now they have a new album (“Los Brandos”) just in time for the tour and speaking of tour, the current line-up is 3/4 of the 1997 summer tour line-up. I approached the concert on 7th June with few expectations. The first positive surprise was the venue (“Hirsch”), a rock pub with more than decent food, a charming staff, and an attentive audience.

Just to see the band on stage again was refreshing, no, rejuvenating! Those melodies and lyrics all came back (well, they never really left) and I found myself smiling while grooving along. Naturally, we all have aged. This wasn’t the sweaty no-compromises act that made me a fan back in 1995. Surprisingly, the show was rather hard rocking with only a couple of acoustic ballads in between. Songs like “The Solution” and “The Keeper” showed the band’s melodic side. Most of the newer songs rocked more heavily. The lead vocals were spot on, the rhythm section more controlled than it used to be.

The old material drew a lot of applause. The songs off the new album were received well, but hardly anyone had heard them before. It didn’t help that half of them were in Spanish and lacked the distinctive choruses that dominated earlier Brandos albums. Also, the newer arrangements take more time to build. The drums usually set in slowly, the rhythm guitar often remains tame until the refrain. I’m afraid that the hook lines didn’t stuck with me the first time around, very unlike my first Brandos live experience during which I heard and simultaneously inhaled killer tracks like “The Siege”, “Hard Times, Come Again No More” and “Not a Trace”.

One of the highlights was the acoustic rendition of “Love of My Life”, which had the audience singing along all the way to the back. The following song, “What Kind of a World”, was probably the most convincing new track. Performed solo by Dave Kincaid, it sounded more like Phil Ochs than CCR. I guess no one would have minded if he had added a couple of old classics right there and then (“The Other Side” from “The Light of Day – the Single” comes to my mind, or basically any other melodic Brandos song).

Was there anything to complain? Well, not really. I enjoyed the concert and I was (and am) happy to see the band back in the limelight. This being said, I could have done without the (in my ears) boring “Let It Go”. Finally, the live energy, the harmony vocals, and (yes, I’m nitpicking here) the fingered bass playing by Ernie Mendillo was missing. Frank Giordano did a fabulous job on backing vocals, make no mistake here. It’s just, well, after eleven shows I’ve seen with Dave, Frank AND Ernie on vocal duty, I’m probably spoiled. Speaking of Frank: In my opinion, he would have deserved lead vocals on a song – be it with “Jailer, Bring Me Water” or his great version of “I Got It” (or “Glory of Love” off his solo record?).

All in all, I’m happy that the Brandos are back and that I’ll be seeing them again this Saturday in Bad Rappenau!

The Brandos live in Metzingen-Glems

  1. Fight for Love
  2. The Only Love I Can Get
  3. Let It Go
  4. Anna Lee
  5. Señor Coyote
  6. The Solution
  7. The Keeper
  8. Suffer in Silence
  9. Querer a los Niños
  10. Love of My Life
  11. What Kind of a World
  12. She’s the One
  13. Woodstock Guitar
  14. Bella Encantadora
  15. Over the Border
  16. Pass the Hat
  17. Gettysburg
  18. Can’t Go Home
  19. Maligna Presencia
  20. These Troubled Times
  21. Nothing to Fear
  22. The Light of Day
  23. Gunfire at Midnight

Lektüre 2016

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Poul Anderson: Rebellenwelt
  • Peter Ames Carlin: Bruce
  • Bronnie Ware: 5 Dinge, die Sterbende am meisten bereuen
  • Poul Anderson: Ehrenwerte Feinde
  • Frank Böttcher & Sven Plöger: Klimafakten
  • Michael Schumacher: Tankard – Life in Beermuda
  • Ashlee Vance: Elon Musk – How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Is Shaping Our Future
  • Max Frisch: Homo Faber
  • Jojo Moyes: Me Before You
  • Götz Aly: Unser Kampf 1968
  • Javier Marías: Die sterblich Verliebten
  • Grady Hendrix: Horrorstör
  • Joël Dicker: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair
  • Max Frisch: Stiller
  • Meghann Foye: Lügen haben runde Bäuche
  • Elizabeth McKenzie: The Portable Veblen
  • Frank Portman: King Dork
  • David Safier: Mieses Karma
  • Julia Neumann: Odins Auge
  • Bernd Groot-Wilken, Kevin Isaac & Jörg-Peter Schräpler (Hrsg.): Sozialindices für Schulen
  • Andy Weir: The Martian
  • Roger Willemsen: Das Hohe Haus
  • Marie Fredriksson & Helena von Zweigbergk: Listen to My Heart – Meine Liebe zum Leben