Flew out to Berlin today to visit my younger brother Peter and family, who live in the neighbouring city of Potsdam. The flight out was fine and Peter met me at the airport and then drove me back to the flat in Potsdam, where I met Susi and their children, Felix and Annie, again. It was good to see them all again and nice of them to invite me over to coincide with the final performance in Helge Schneider’s current tour, which took place at Berlin’s Admiralspalast theatre – a stone’s throw from the Friedrichstrasse train station in the middle of Berlin.
Helge Schneider is a very talented German multi-instrumentalist and comedian, who performs what can only be described as comedy jazz, featuring spoken comedy interludes and ad-libs between songs. He has again assembled a talented group of musisicians for his tour, comprising players from all over the world. It would be difficult to think of a British (or other) parallel, but if you took a mix of Monty Python surrealism, some 1970s tat, and jazz music, you’d be on the right lines. His humour uses wordplay, philosophy, and in complete contrast, occasional smut, to great effect.
His assembled group (Cirque du Kautz – or Owl Circus) itself featured some interesting characters. I was particularly pleased to see Pete York on drums. York formed and played with the Spencer Davis group in the 1960s, but in his own right is an extrememly talented jazz drummer and jazz drummers are simply the best drummers. We (Peter, Susi, and I) all enjoyed the evening and it was nice to have an evening out with them in a nice environment, drinking some nice German beer and being entertained by some good comedy and music.