Jim Kroft – Altes Wettbüro, Dresden; January 31st, 2020
Finding the thing that make you happy and pursuing it – should that not be everyone’s goal in life? Well I’ve found mine many years ago and I’m doing my best to get my live music fill as often as possible. So when after the gig yesterday Jim told me that I give him energy because I always have the biggest smile on my face, all I could do was nod. I’d find it very hard not to smile in the face of so much fun. Music moves me, it helps me access my emotions and in dark times, music keeps me going. And no matter how I’ve felt before, if it’s a concert I enjoy, I will always walk away smiling and feeling better. Jim’s gig in Dresden ticked all the boxes for a truly enjoyable one – good music, good mood, good audience and a lovely venue too. It was a great night.
Luckily there was a direct train from Dortmund to Dresden that I hopped on straight after work. all went well, I got to my hostel around 7, got ready and went straight to the venue. it was small but really cozy and I immediately saw a few familiar faces. By 8 it was nicely filled and everyone was ready for the show. About 20 minutes later (“Icelandic 8” anyone?), the band walked on stage and before they could start, Jim had to put on his sunglasses, then told us it was a show about love in the face of fear, kicking it off with said song, people at the front soon smoving with the music.
With each song he was going to invite us to move 4 millimeters closer so by the end of the evening we’d be close enough to kiss, he announced and later changed that to 4 centimeters, then 8 centimeters and finally 8 inches. It worked and the gap between the stage and the audience slowly closed. For a few songs, Jim stepped right into the crowd, continuing the songs in our midst. 🙂 Already with the second son, ‘Trying to reach the Earth’ we were clapping along and some of use were singing too.
It was Brexit day and time for the EU to say goodbye to the UK (or the other way around). Being Scottish, Jim could not play a show on that night without a comment and we all agreed that Brexit was a bad idea. He joked that he and drummer Dan Telander would both be illegal come tomorrow, but they were fine with it. The jokes continued throughout the night and Dan even had a special Brexit count in based on Boris Johnson, so instead of “one, two three, four” it was “Take back con – trol”. 😀 The band, with Lucas Dietrich on bass and Jonas Lieber on guitar and keyboards was in a great mood and teasing each other most of the evening. Jim talked a lot more than usual and spoke German quite often too, including proper Dative and Genitive. 😉
“I hope you know that I love you” he declared and that he was always gonna come back if Germany kicked him out. We’ll always welcome you with open arms! The song was awesome. When he asked who was from Dresden it turned out that everyone at the front wasn’t. After that was clarified, he decided we all needed more drinks and they were going to be on Dan. 😉 Each member of the band got some form of introduction during the curse of the evening and we heard a few stories too. We sang along to ‘Through my Weakness’ and I felt the power of connections made by singing together.
With ‘Sara’ he spoke about camp Moria on Lesvos and the charity to help. The camp has gotten much bigger since he was there in 2016, but seems almost forgotten now. The last thing I heard about it on the news was Greece building barriers in the water now to keep more people from crossing over. 🙁 In a world where we build walls now to keep people out, it is good to have people who still speak up for refugees and do their best to help. I remembered C. who I met in London an wondered if she was back in Greece yet, helping. The somber mood was immediately lifted with ‘Birthrights’ and I was smiling again, even dancing a little.
Jim introduced ‘Beautiful Ways’ as a song about meeting someone and “There’s so much going on between you and you don’t know what to do about it or if you can do anything about it” He described it as being stuck in a twilight zone and translated that as “Dämonenzone” (demon zone). when he asked if that was right everyone was like “nah, not quite” so he thanked us for the support and everyone laughed. 😀 We got some songs from the new album next and learned that the music gets better the more drunk he is. The intro to ‘Obstacles’ brought us some funny Star Wars references. I like the song and ‘Gravity’s gone’ which followed is great too.
He asked what was next and someone peaking at the setlist said “Redemption Song”. How could we possibly know 😉 and it wasn’t Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption song’, but his very own song called ‘Redemption’. It brought another good sing- along, but not as loud and as powerful as the one that followed with ‘The Jailer’. That song always gets the crowd going. In between, they needed to pass some time talking, because they were waiting to get another beer, so we learned about the biggest number in the world. Beers for everyone delivered, they continued and we all joined in.
In the madness nowadays of polarization we need to be reminded that ‘Ye we are still HUman’ – Jim is right saying the world would be boring if everyone thought alike or was alike. He’s right and we need to remember that once in a while. The next song was an old one that he had never recorded, called ‘The Hero of a thousand Faces’ – it was new to me and I immediately loved it. It had a bit of a ‘The Passenger’ vibe about it. ‘Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse’, a song about his early days in Germany was introduced as a thank you for the the people welcoming him here all those years ago and our Gastfreundschaft.
When you’re facing disaster, your spirit is crushed and you don’t know where to go or what to do, then ‘Tell me where to begin’ should speak to you. Asking where to begin certainly won’t hurt and the song is good company. It sounds so much like defiance and that’s a good thing. 🙂 Afterwards we were asked to all squeeze towards the center of the room so we’d all fit in a photo. Of course we did. They powered through ‘See how the Darkness grows’ and had everyone moving again, finally ending the set with ‘Favorite Type of Sinner’, rocking the house again.
They barely left stage before we cheered them back, Jim refusing to join the others before he heard the word “Zugabe”. Alright then! Now the sunglasses were back (yep, he had taken them off at some point) and he even wore a hat to boot. One more time we were invited to sing along for ‘Waiting for a healing’ – a fitting song these days. Our world sure is waiting for a healing. Final song of the night was ‘Not in my Name’ – it fit perfectly with the entire evening’s theme. We all got a big laugh too when someone sneezed just as their was one moment of silence in the song. As soon as the song was over, Jim said ‘Gesundheit’ too. 😀
Once the show was over there was time to say hello to everyone I knew, chat with Jim and the band or just listen in to everyone’s conversations. Everything they signed got titled “special Brexit edition” and there was lots of banter going on. It was fun. When the guys went to pack their stuff I said goodbye. It was bedtime for me and there’ll be another gig tomorrow.
Love in the Face of Fear
Try to reach the Earth
I hope you know
Through my Weakness
Yes we are still Human
Tell me where to begin
See how the Darkness grows
Favorite Type of Sinner
Waiting for a Healing
Not in my Name