Sunday, 31 May 2009

My concert experience: Guano Apes

* click on the thumbnails for a better preview

It's great when your favourite bands reunite after a long split. It's even better when they embark on a tour and your country gets to be included. Four years after their official split up Guano Apes came back together announcing several gigs at prominent European festivals with the only exception of Bulgaria, where they held an indoor concert. Guano Apes proved to be in great shape and frontwoman Sandra Nasić to have improved her vocal skills.

The concert was due to begin at 20:00 and I was there at 19:15 and in a few minutes they started letting us in, which was very surprising as Bulgarian fans are used to waiting outside for hours before anyone shows any mercy on our at this occasion freezing souls. Here is the moment where I should compliment Most of Evil on their excellent organization this time, as the support band Fyeld came on stage at sharp 20:00. Of course, this doesn't mean that I've forgotten the long two hours spent outside the hall for the Pain concert last month, but today's issue are the Apes. Fyeld is a Bulgarian crossover band, which occasionally plays at various gigs. I cannot say much about them as I actually got to hear them for the first time last night. They are OK, but definitely not my scene.

A few minutes after 21:00 Sandra Nasić and company appeared in flesh and bones in front of the nearly 3,000 fans at Universiada Hall in Sofia. To many this was a dream come true, to the rest an iconic band in front of them ready to blow their tops. They started with "You Can't Stop Me", although no one actually wanted them to stop, even for a drink break. The audience was in ecstasy as we heard Nasić first words...Yep, one of the biggest alt-metal chicks was right there singing just for us and she sounded great. A friend of mine told me that she sucked live, but luckily it didn't prove right and Nasić did demonstrate that she could actually sing. Bang! We were nailed down from the very start! Guano Apes had more and more surprises to come..."Money & Milk", followed by "Quetly", "Open Your Eyes" and "Pretty In Scarlet". In between they played "Do It Again", which is from Sandra's solo album "The Signal". The gig was getting so hot that before singing "Open Your Eyes" Sandra encouraged all the guys to take off their shirts and to mix with the rest of sweaty bodies and burning skins.

When Sandra came on stage she was wearing a T-shirt saying "Ruf mir nie wider an", which in English means "Never call me again". In order to be persuasive enough as she asked us to lose some clothing in favor of some skin-trade and sweaty pogos, she took her shirt off, but she had another one under it...tricky, very tricky. The set-list continued with a straight line of some of their less known stuff, which toned down the audience as mostly fans knew them and the anticipation was not that passionate, which doesn't mean that there were no pogos or frantic singing along with Nasić. However, this could easily be considered as the major flaw of their whole performance as most people were there for their biggest hits and to a certain extent Guano Apes should have lived up to their expectations. After all, we can never be sure how long will this reunion last and will it crash and burn before even releasing new material.

The good news is that all of the songs were worth performing and listening to and there was something for everyone, from the die-hard fan to the girlfriend who came just to be with her bf/gf. The set-list definitely was not their best possible, but what was important Guano Apes to be playing at all. Still, I have no fine explanation why they included that many of their non-album tracks, although I believe they were trying to go beyond the expected, another thing is whether they managed to do it.

It was great that they made no difference between their performance in Braga, Portugal in front of over 15,000 spectators and in Sofia, Bulgaria with the modest amount of 3,000. Size doesn't matter after all, but some bands tend to believe that the bigger the crowd the better for their reputation. Probably right, but the Bulgarian crowd was perfect and I am pretty sure Guano Apes will have us in mind if they decide to embark on another tour some time in the long as they haven't split up once again.

The second part of the concert was dominated by their hits "Break the Line", "Scratch the Pitch" and where to without "Big In Japan". The last made the audience go crazy, hundreds jumping on one place and pushing back and forth as a human wave. Most of us already knew the set list and we perfectly knew that Sandra was going to say Goodbye, just to return on stage in a few minutes. The "promised" encore was remarkable for the excellent performance of "Lords of the Boards", which is the epitome of their career and narrow relation with the culture of the boards. Sandra let the audience sing it as obviously we were really in an urge to shout it out loud. We all shouted as our lives depended on it and sadly this did put an end to the concert. All sweaty, exhausted and a little dizzy the people were making their way to the exits, taking a look back to the empty scene...filled with the fresh memories of a concert long to be talked about.