A NATURAL AND LIVING ENVIRONMENT LIKE NO OTHER
SPOTTING THE NEXT BIG THING
Many international and local legends – here, Fribourg musician and song-writer, Gustav – have graced the stage of the mythical Fri-Son rock club.
For a canton the size of Fribourg, the number of music venues it has is pretty staggering. To begin with, there is the legendary rock club, Fri-Son. Over the last 35 years, this repurposed warehouse, with its awesome exterior murals created by a group of talented graffiti artists, has become a testament to the live music scene, and is one of the biggest concert venues in Switzerland. “Alternative music is in the club’s DNA”, explains Émilien Rossier, Fri-Son’s General Secretary. “We’re constantly on the look-out for undiscovered talent.” Indeed, the club’s bookers have a proven track record for talent-spotting: legendary bands like Nirvana (see below), the Beastie Boys, Motörhead, Muse and even Placebo, as well as singers such as Stromae, had yet to make it really big when they performed at Fri-Son. As well as concerts, the club hosts an eclectic range of special events, including cutting-edge DJ sets, roller discos, and table-tennis tournaments. Companies can also hire the club for private parties.
Fribourg caters to jazz buffs, too. The La Spirale cellar club in Fribourg’s historic Old Town is renowned as a purveyor of extraordinary blue note performances, but Gilles Dupuis, the club’s booking agent, is quick to point out that the venue also embraces other musical genres, particularly soul, funk, blues, world music and French chanson. While La Spirale is primarily a showcase for fresh talent, quite a few well-established stars – Dave Holland, Richard Galliano and Mike Stern, to name but a few – have MUSIC VENUES SPOTTING THE NEXT BIG THING graced the club’s intimate stage. The canton is also home to Bad Bonn, a live music venue that can only be described as sui generis (one of a kind)! Those lucky enough to find it – there is a reason why its strapline is “Where the hell is Bad Bonn?” – will discover a club like no other and a programme packed full of surprises. “We are a real backcountry rock club”, proudly proclaims Patrick Boschung, the club’s administrator. Also, the annual springtime Bad Bonn Kilbi is considered to be one of the best festivals in Switzerland.
THE KURT COBAIN MYSTERY
Saturday, 25 November 1989: the rock club Fri-Son was gearing up for a concert by a largely unknown US band which went by the name of Nirvana. Two years and millions of record sales later, the world was in thrall to grunge thanks to the trio from Seattle. Legend has it that the group’s front man, Kurt Cobain, was severely under the weather that evening. A member of Fri-Son’s staff offered him pain-relief suppositories to alleviate his misery. Cobain thought that something fishy was going on. So, the staff-member began to explain to him what they were for and how to administer them… “No-one really knows for certain if Kurt Cobain actually managed to make it on stage or not. It’s still a mystery”, admits Émilien Rossier, General Secretary of Fri-Son. No matter, it would appear that the entire Fribourg population was at the concert that night. For proof, all you need to do is casually bring it up in conversation, sit back, and listen to the reaction!
Some of Fribourg’s music venues: