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Guano Apes013 2012 006013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
5th February 2012
Guano Apes, Alpha Academy

Although I couldn’t really get used to the new GUANO APES sound on their latest album ‘Bel Air’, I was still looking pretty much forward to seeing them in a live show. To my surprise, it wasn’t fully sold out (only NL show) but still the venue was nicely crowded for a Sunday evening. Support tonight is taken care of by the German rock band ALPHA ACADEMY.

Alpha Academy

ALPHA ACADEMY is an alternative rock band founded in 2008 in Göttingen, Germany. The band’s style can be characterized as alternative rock, with an emotional and catchy sound, described in the band’s own bio as “between Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters”. Following the release of their EP ‘The City is Burning’, ALPHA ACADEMY self-organized a successful tour in Germany. Their first full-length album entitled ‘The Promise of the Light’ was released soon after in 2010, followed by lots of touring, this time also outside of the German borders in Switzerland and Austria. 2012 is expected to be an important year for ALPHA ACADEMY with the release of their next album by the end of February 2012. Also, the band got lucky to be confirmed as support act for the GUANO APES’ “Bel Air” tour. ALPHA ACADEMY is Dominik Dubik (vocals, guitar), Michael Wenski (guitar, backing vocals), Sebastian Hunger (bass, backing vocals) and Niko Tsagarakis (drums). / /

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Music & Performance
Although not sold out, 013 is already decently crowded when ALPHA ACADEMY takes off with their brand new single ‘Rise & Fall’ from their upcoming album ‘Impossible:Possible’. After a little fine tuning on their sound, we can hear all band members properly balanced and ALPHA ACADEMY gets going. The band presents bite-sized rock with no-nonsense lyrics. Nothing wrong with that, but personally, I had difficulty to find out what distinguishes ALPHA ACADEMY from all these other rock bands. After a couple more songs from their new album, bass player Sebastian welcomes the audience with a few words in Dutch, which is always very much appreciated! He also admits the band is a bit shy about their English, but they do like “this new thing called Facebook” though and invite everyone to join their group. ALPHA ACADEMY continues with more new songs, but also their previous album ‘Promise of the Light’ is included in the set list with their single ‘Walls’. It was one of their most dated songs though that I particularly liked: ‘Prototype’ from their EP ‘The City is Burning’.

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Although the audience seemed to appreciate tonight’s support act, they didn’t really move around a lot. Perhaps some were still recovering from Saturday evening? ALPHA ACADEMY completes their set with the title song of their latest single. Before leaving the stage, they ask whether the audience is ready for the GUANO APES: Yes we are!!!

01. Rise & Fall
02. All around you
03. Long Way home
04. Wheels keep turning
05. Falling down
06. Walls
07. Scissors
08. Prototype
09. Voice Of The Voiceless

Music: 6
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.5 / 10

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Guano Apes

The GUANO APES were formed in 1994 in Göttingen, Germany by guitar player Henning Rümenapp, bassist Stefan Ude and drummer Dennis Poschwatta. Singer Sandra Nasić joined the band that same year. Their career took off two years later in 1996 after winning a contest for local unsigned bands with the song ‘Open Your Eyes’, also the famous single of their first album release ‘Proud Like a God’. After several hit singles and three successful albums: ‘Don’t Give Me Names’ (2000), ‘Walking on a Thin Line’ (2003) and their best of album ‘Planet of the Apes’(2005), the band broke up. Over the next years, the band members worked on their solo careers. In 2009, GUANO APES got back together for a reunion show, which worked out very well. Soon after, the GUANO APES decided to give it another try and started working on a new album. In 2011, the band released the album ‘Bel Air’ at Columbia Records and made plans to tour Europe in 2011/2012 to promote their new work. GUANO APES is Sandra Nasić (vocals), Henning Rümenapp (guitars, backing vocals), Stefan Ude (bass, backing vocals) and Dennis Poschwatta (drums, backing vocals) plus new live member Mirco Hildmann (guitar, backing vocals). / /

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Music & Performance
When the lights are dimmed the audience gives a warm welcome to the GUANO APES, kicking of their show with ‘Quietly’ from their 2003 album ‘Walking on a Thin Line’. The GUANO APES immediately continue with a song from their latest album ‘Bel Air’: ‘Oh What a Night’. It isn’t until ‘You Can’t Stop Me’ and the classic ‘Open Your Eyes’ blast trough the venue though, that the band as well as the audience really get enthusiastic. After the first few songs, drummer Dennis tells the audience an entertaining but somewhat complicated story about the last time he was in The Netherlands got a phone call that his girlfriend was having a baby. Up next is ‘Sunday Lover’ which is another new song. I have to admit that I am really pleasantly surprised how the new songs sound so much better in their live show than on CD. ‘Fire in Your Eyes’, is accompanied by an impressive second 5-piece backdrop (one huge backdrop at the back and four small ones on stage, combined displaying “Apes Shall Never Kill Apes”). The GUANO APES are convincing and visibly at ease on the 013 stage, moving around and climbing the nicely built ramp.

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Also, interaction with the audience is plenty, which really adds to their performance. Sandra and the other band members thank the audience and are overwhelmed by the warm welcome after being away for quite a few years. What makes me wonder about halfway their show though, is who is the second guitar player in the back of the stage. The guy doesn’t really take part in their show, which seemed a bit odd. After ‘She’s a Killer’ it’s time for a break to show the audience the new band merchandise in an original format. Bass player Stefan Ude presents the new shirts with the attitude of a supermodel, while Henning adds his professional hilarious comments and Dennis and Sandra provide the intermezzo music (covering Prince’s ‘Sexy M.F.’). Just before the audience starts demanding more songs (perhaps this is typically Dutch, but we do have a tendency to scream “SPELUHHH!” (PLAY!), if a band talks too much between their songs). The Apes continue with ‘Tiger’, (the intro reminds me of Danko Jones’ songs, which is a compliment of course).

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Having read a few live reviews, I was a bit afraid for Sandra’s vocal performance. Fortunately this was unnecessary, partially thanks to the support of the backing vocals of their mysterious guitar player (sometimes a bit too strong) or is it a tape? Some of the songs start almost a cappella though, and Sandra shows that she sure has the vocal capabilities to impress the audience. The main part of their show finishes with ‘Fanman’ and ‘This Time’ and the GUANO APES leave the stage, returning quite soon again after loud cheers of the audience for a “Zugabe”. This one starts with an instrumental version of ‘Plastic Mouth’ where the other musicians show off their skills. To my big surprise, even a third backdrop is presented for the last couple of songs. With the classic ‘Big in Japan’, the audience goes nuts and the band visibly enjoys themselves as well. For the last song, Sandra demands the guys in the audience to take their shirts off, which is not a problem at all (after a little encouragement). With ‘Lords of the Boards’ this GUANO APES show unfortunately comes to an end.

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I think we can conclude that the GUANO APES have made a successful comeback and although the new songs are not really my cup of tea as much as the old ones (damn, I’m getting old!) they definitely have gotten better now I’ve heard them live. The new GUANO APES don’t rock, but they sure groove like mad!!

01. Quietly
02. Oh What a Night
03. You Can't Stop Me
04. Open Your Eyes
05. Sunday Lover
06. Pretty in Scarlet
07. Fire in Your Eyes
08. She's a Killer
09. Tiger
10. All I Wanna Do
11. When the Ships Arrive
12. Fanman
13. This Time
14. Plastic Mouth (Instrumental)
15. Staring at the Sun
16. Big in Japan (Alphaville cover)
17. Lords of the Boards

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8 / 10

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All pics by Ruth Mampuys (

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