It seems Helge Schneider doesn’t need a band because he plays all the instruments himself anyway, sometimes even at the same time. Showed this on Friday at one of the two concert evenings in Vienna at Stadthalle. As he blows the trumpet, he hits the tambourine with his foot. The strong basis for the concert was provided by guitarist Sandro Giamerti, whom Schneider (apparently) initially directs with a cudgel.
In doing so, he bends in the bodily permeability, that universal art of improvisation, jazz, and chaotic wit. Schneider’s bullshit is nothing but meaningless entertainment, it’s subversive art. His motto: “My texts should also touch. I advise. But in the background, especially in the background.”
Helge Schneider via Austria
Helge Schneider sees himself as a music clown. Many others describe him as one of Germany’s greatest artists. He started his Austrian tour at Dogana in Innsbruck.
“Be yourself again”
In addition to guitarist, assistant Bodo Oesterling accompanies Schneider’s performances. Schneider orders him nearby, orders mint tea, tells ridiculous stories about his invention, and at the end of the concert praises the “real water” evening. After “30 years of audition”, Bodo is now supposed to do the average audition, putting the guitar on his shoulders, which turns out to be a clown performance of the highest order.
Schneider’s subversive joke plays with marketing strategies: Budo appears in Mozart’s costume. Schneider asks: “Do you know Mozart, Bodo?” “Amadeus Amadeus? Mozart balls? Sweets? That’s the thing!” Schneider reflects all about the zeitgeist, revealing fashion trends and self-improvement rumors. In Mindfulness Studios you can find your center. “Be yourself again,” Schneider sarcastically promotes, amplifying his merit slogans: “Dutch* trainees in the Far East smear you with oils from all over the world. Palm oil, margarine, and waste oil at fair prices, with music you pick yourself up over headphones , Gabalier or Dion”.
Talented jazz player
“A Man and His Guitar” is quite enough at Schneider’s parties, even if one really hopes his son Charlie, who plays drums, is there. But it is also possible for Schneider to play all instruments without at least a musical line. It doesn’t matter if he’s on the piano, double bass, drums or trumpet, he rips melodies with joy and ease, sings his own songs and jumps from idea to idea, always back to the primary theme (if there ever was one).
His method also includes the deconstruction of cult figures such as Jimi Hendrix and Duke Ellington. On his vibraphone, Schneider spoiled a piece for Ellington, whom he roughly met in Berlin in 1972. Instead of going to his concert – he had no money at the time – he took a sightseeing bus.
Schneider also does a great job parodying Jimi Hendrix in the number “The Pope Can’t Go Anywhere, Because He’s Well Known As A Painful Thumb.” When he hinted at the blues motif on guitar, he gleefully dissected Hendrix’s music. Schneider says in a pun about the Pope that cult figures are just people too, which reveals any form of glorification as absurd.
Mrs. Helga Schneider and the Men
Schneider moved 26 times to escape the German army, although he was mistaken for a woman anyway. The official letter that prompted him to flee was addressed to “Mrs Helga Schneider”. The question of gender roles revolves around his program, in which he is constantly changing. Even if “family members” and “one or the other” have grown a long beard, Schneider’s admiration for the “men” of the music world is even greater.
Usually he plays new songs only at concerts, Schneider initially announced, but sometimes he also plays old ones. He mixes new melodies into the finished material, incorporates nursery rhymes, and works with gaps, pauses and blank spaces. Once featured as the “Phantom of the Opera”, cowboy-hatted “Mexico Trumpet” and his biggest hit “Katzinclaw” wasn’t missing out. After a long round of applause, he added the sad song “I have to go”.