Back from the Zappanale for exactly two months now, here are some words and, more important, the photos! For an introduction to what I’m talking about, please see Zappanale! In short, the Zappanale is an annual festival in Bad Doberan, former GDR, devoted to Frank Zappa’s Music. As such, most of the bands show some either musical or ideological overlap with…either the music or the idea behind the works of Frank Zappa and his accompanying bands such as the Mothers of Invention.
However, in the recent years it also became customary to have some more progressive or avantgarde bands such as Doctor Nerve, Magma, Gargantua etc. – brought to you by the great Freakshow’s Charly (for last year’s pictures please see Zappanale 2012)! However, after hosting a huge festival with Magma, Motorpsycho, DeWolff and others plus the Heavy Guitar Days including a show of No-more-Mr-Niceguy Cooper leading to high financial risks, the idea of this years festival was to go back to being more earthy again and not to include heavy names like the ones listed above.
Apart from the traditional festival opening in the center of Bad Doberan on Thursday, this years opening act on the actual festival side, the Galopprennbahn, was one of the stunning highlights, vaguely related to Zappa in a musical sense! Ladies and gentleman, this is from the Swiss mountains Anton and the Headcleaners:
Next on the second stage, called “Mystery Stage”, an original collaborator of Frank entered the Zappanale and kind of started the more retrospective side of the event: the award-winning (Deutscher Filmpreis 2008 for best film score) Ali N. Askin, who was Frank’s musical assistant on his orchestral record The Yellow Shark. Since then he composed mainly Music for theatres and movies and obviously had great fun rocking the Zappa-fans:
…and on with the first real Zappa-Tribute band, Dangerous Kitchen from the Ruhr area in Germany! Arranged for a rich variety of wind instruments, Marimba- and Vibraphone and the “standard” rock Instrumentation, they covered Zappa music which they describe as “Rock, soul, jazz, dodgy, satiric and sometimes wonderfully giggly”.
The next day I started with Coogans Bluff, named after an ancient Clint Eastwood movie. They presented a heavily 70s influenced Grunge-Riff-Stoner-Rock somewhere between Grateful Dead, Can, Pearl Jam and Monster Magnet. Last year they released their 3rd and latest record on which they tend to more complex structures and enriched their Instrumentation by wind instruments. And damn, they rocked – straight, jammed – great start for the day!
Then my personal highlight of the festival: known from the 80s recording “Live at Moers Festival”, Kazutoki Umezu, formerly known as Doctor Umezu, sax-mate of John Zorn and Tom Cora and one of the most influential Jazz musicians in Japan over the last decades returned to Germany and fucking rocked the damn house. The band, blendly named Kazutoki Umezu Kiki band is a four piece, three japanese plus the american drum badass Joe Trump (yeah, he’s the billionaire!! call him and ask for it – he loves it! ;-)) played a heavily rocking jazz set, constantly pushed forward by the never giving-in rhythm section Joe and the funky and probably tightest bass player in Japan! Add the crazy guitar solos by Natsuki Kido who you might recognize from Bondage Fruit or Yoshida’s Project Korekyojin and the free jazz sax by the Doctor and you’ll end up with something hard to categorize: Avantgarde, funk, free jazz, progressive rock, folk, traditional jazz…maybe just call it damn tight complex Jazzrock…?!
Anyway, they recently released a new record and as one could see after the gig, I was not the only one digging it: all their CDs sold out within minutes…
I let the the day sink away watching the long-term Zappa veteran band “Banned from Utopia” consisting of the alumni Robert Martin, Ray White, Ed Mann, Tom Fowler, Albert Quon Wing, Mike Miller and Ralph Humphrey! Of course, they played Zappa songs and of course, they know how to play them. Though, somehow they couldn’t really ignite the audience and the reception was warm but cold…however, after the concert they where personally honored as honorary members of the Arf Society for keeping the heritage of Frank alive!
…and, since Ike Willis didn’t make it to good ol’europe and to his gig with the Pojama People since his name is not his real name but Isaac is, I closed the festival with the show of the stand-alone artist Chato Segerer, who gained attention and great fame in playing with just that Ike Willis on the Yellow Snow Festival Zappa Festival in Norway in 2012. Faithful followers of Charly’s Freakshow Festival may also remember the multi-Instrumentalist by his spontaneous performance in Würzburg in 2012!
…and of course, every single visitor remembers her – at least I remember seeing you guys dreaming:
Thanks for your interest, please leave your comments and hope to see you next year, folks, at this unique, colourful, peaceful and most relaxed festival on this planet! Actually, I already know the line-up for 2014 in bits and pieces…and bands they’re considering…it’s gonna be great!!