23rd November 2016 – Henrik Freischlader Trio @ Kaufleuten Festsaal Zurich – Openness Tour 2016. A smiling Henrik Freischlader greeted us in Swiss German “Hoi zäme! Sinder zwäg?” (Hiya! How are you?) and welcomed us to the show at the intimate Festsaal, the smaller of the two Kaufleuten auditoriums.
The German singer-songwriter and blues guitarist is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who also runs his own record label, Cable Car Records. After a decade of writing songs, constant touring and producing records he took a year-long sabbatical to recharge his batteries. He disbanded his old band, formed a trio and released a new album, Openness, on 1st April 2016. In spring he also went on the road again to promote it and right now he is about to finish a lengthy European tour with only two shows left to play. The trio started with an old song, Got It Made, and then launched into two new ones, Early Morning Blues, a smooth blues based on a true story and Master Plan to which Henrik animated us to sing along. He was quite right that it would be fun to do so! They followed the pattern of old and new songs but also performed two cover versions by Albert King and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. The show’s highlight was Bad Dreams/Wolkenwinde. Henrik gradually built up his solo which segued into a call and response phrasing with bass player Alex Grube and then with drummer Carl-Michael Grabinger which was truly exceptional. The song reached its climax with another of Henrik’s jaw-dropping solos and they ended it by firing on all cylinders. Bad Dreams/Wolkenwinde was 22 minutes long but so exciting that it felt much shorter. Throughout the show the musicians impressed us with their versatility, raw energy and visible joy. It would be impossible to capture all of this on a record… They continued with a fast shuffle and came to a close soon after. A fan shouted “Geili Sieche!” and the crowd roared its approval. I am sure that Henrik and his mates understood that it meant “awesome fellas!”! Another tune from the new album, Never Really Left You, was chosen to be the encore of their outstanding performance. Züri loves you, so please come back soon!
Henrik Freischlader – vocals/guitar, Alex Grube – bass/vocals, Carl-Michael Grabinger – drums
Text: Heidi Widmer
Fotos: Roland Kämpfer www.orlandipix.ch