WINO & CONNY OCHS
April 8th, 2012 at Christuskirche/Cologne, GER
Unfortunately I missed the first tour of Scott 'Wino' Weinrich and Conny Ochs two years ago. At this time, Conny Ochs opened up for Wino but after a couple of shows they decided to play together on stage. I can well imagine that this was the laying of the foundation stone for 'Heavy Kingdom' (review here), which has been released thru Exile On Mainstream Records at the beginning of 2012. Due to the fact that I dig the acoustic work of both musicians I was, therefore, all the more pleased about that cooperation and the ensuing great result. All the nicer then, that both guys returned to Cologne to the Christuskirche where they already played on their first tour. My good friend Georg and his wife Sandra (thanks a lot for the photos!) thought along the same lines and so we drove on the first day of the Easter break to Cologne which is not far away from the Ruhr Area.
We arrived a bit early so that we had enough time for a cold beer in a cozy Irish pub. After that refreshment we went to the Christuskirche. Over the last thirty years I've seen a lot of venues, but that was definitely one of the most interesting places. As the name implies, it was an old church that is also used for cultural events. At least, that was my impression. However, that was the right place for this kind of music and I really enjoyed the atmospheric mood within the holy walls, even though I'm not a friend of religion. But as long as nobody wants to force me to believe in his God, I can be very tolerant. Well ok, I am making a digression but now back on topic. Of course, there were seats for everyone and in the meantime the church was almost packed. My guess is that there were about 80 people, but I am not sure.
Sadly, it took some time before Wino and Conny Ochs started the show. The reason for this was that they arrived too late and had to eat food. No problem, because nobody wants to play with an empty stomach. Then, time has come: they entered the place where normally the altar is located. After the first notes it was clear that both have been melded into a strong musical unit, just as on their album. The first cut was 'Somewhere Nowhere', followed by more songs of 'Heavy Kingdom'. It was wonderful to hear that songs live, although I really missed 'Dead Yesterday' because it's one of my faves from that record. The set list was interspersed by a couple of tracks from Wino's solo acoustic album 'Adrift'. These included 'Hold On Love' and 'Whatever', just to name a few. What I particularly liked was that they didn't play some of the songs exactly as in the studio. There was enough room for jamming, which in most cases worked out very well. The one exception was 'Green Speed'. I really dig that tune but the version that evening was too shredded. It seems as if Weinrich and Ochs had lost the thread during their extensive jam.
There have also been a few cover songs as, for example, Joy Division's 'Isolation' that has been introduced by Wino with the words: 'This is from the ultimate doom band'. Well roared, lion! The biggest surprise was, however, Savoy Brown's 'Hellbound Train'. It blew me away, not only because I love that song but, particularly, because of the fantastic performance. To be honest, I had goose bumps. I can only hope that 'Hellbound Train' will be on the next album of Wino and Conny Ochs. Not only for myself, but also for all you readers out there because I'm pretty sure that you will love it, even if you have never heard the original version. After about two hours, the concert reached its end and I can just tell that is was a beautiful and moving evening (except for 'Green Speed'). It would be great, if both guys continue the good cooperation because there's so much potential. Conclusion: please come back soon!