Sunny Skies Get Heavy


Due to the update of our website my review of last week’s Harmonie concert by Sunny Skies comes a little late so I had an excuse for forgetting it – only how do you ‘forget’ to report when a band you like does one of it’s best shows ever?

Speaking to a promoter before the show talk was of the credit crunch , falling attendances and plunging revenues, of people who won’t be coming back because of a lack of BOS (Bums On Seats). So how do you explain a local cover band pretty well selling out the hall? You would be forgiven for thinking it was maybe down to ‘Sunny Skies’ numerous band members each bringing sizeable chunks of their families to the show –quite simply it’s down to a reputation for good music built up over more than 35 years.

To the show: Skies’ guitarist Martin Behr confused a lot of people, including yours truly, by being support act for the band he was playing in. Since even Richie Blackmore wouldn’t sound-check on his own for half an hour and also have himself videoed doing it, I finally twigged that it was a support slot and not the longest band intro ever. I’m not sure of the point of videoing a guitarist playing to backing tapes though, it must seem odd to hear a drummer on the video but actually see a drummerless kit onstage. The ghost of Keith Moon perhaps? On a serious note though (pun intended) Behr is a seriously good guitarist and fans of guitar instrumental music should give his solo material a listen.

It sometimes seems to me as if there are two bands named Sunny Skies. One is a pop band revolving around founder member Rope Schmitz. To be found here are the established sure fire hits: ‘A Little Help from my Friends’ , ‘Summer of 69’ and ‘Angels’ for example. Then there’s the Hard Rock Band around Behr and vocalist Alex Krienke.  The two also play in a popular Iron Maiden coverband named ‘Killerz’ so they have no trouble getting rough with numbers from Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, ACDC and the like. Being an ageing rocker myself it’s this greyer side of the sky (the ‘dark side of the moon’ doesn’t quite fit a sunny sky analogy) that I love most. For this reason I always ask Rope beforehand if Nadine is in the show. Nadine Weyer is a rocker too you see – and on this particular night she is absolute dynamite. There’s a break mid show and I have the chance to ask her how her voice is standing up to the workout she is giving it. Misunderstanding me, she is worried that she hasn’t sounded good so far – maybe that’s why second half her soaring version of the Melissa Etheridge classic ‘Like the way I Do’ is one of the best performances I’ve heard from any singer anywhere, anytime in my life?!.

Not that Axel has been a slouch with his singing duties. A rocking version of Deep Purple’s ‘Perfect Strangers’ got part two of the set off to a flyer and hats off to him for taking on such a classic of Hard Rock history as ‘Stairway to Heaven’. It seems a bit hit and miss at times but when it hits it’s another highlight of the show and when the notes jangle a bit well, a few smiles onstage show it’s all just Rock n Roll. 

By shows end I took refuge from the crowd by watching from the small Harmonie Balcony. It looked as crowded down there as it had seemed when I was actually down there too.

The cries for an encore were as loud as I’ve heard from bands with far bigger names, but even the biggest would have to follow the Harmonies 10.30pm finish. As if that wasn’t tragic enough I heard from Axel later that a new Deep Purple cover version was on the wrong side of that 10.30 curfew.

Maybe that can be put right on 9 July when the band make whats sure to be a historic performance supporting former Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Sunny Skies and Surfing… Museumsplatz here we come.