When planning a recent short trip to Germany, I coincidentally learned BAP were doing a 40th anniversary tour – an opportunity I did not want to miss. In fact, I moved up my departure by one day, so I could make the concert – and it was totally worth it!
BAP, now actually called Niedeckens BAP, was founded in 1976 by front man, Wolfgang Niedecken. The band’s characteristic feature is that all of their songs are performed in “Koelsch,” a German dialect spoken in the area of Cologne, an old city located on the river Rhine in Western Germany.
The first time I saw BAP was at a small venue in Bonn in 1981 after they had released their third album, fuer usszeschnigge, which took them from regional to national fame. While BAP did a few international tours, their popularity mostly has been limited to Germany – largely because of their German lyrics.
The recent concert took place in the Southern German town of Neu-Ulm. The venue was great – Ratiopharm Arena, an indoor arena that is also used for basketball games. Even though I was seated up and in the back, I had a great view, since the arena is relatively small.
I have to say BAP did an amazing show. During more than three hours nonstop, they pretty much played all of their most popular songs – and with 17 studio albums, they have a huge repertoire!
Wolfgang Niedecken is the only member left from the original formation, though it’s fair to say he has always been the band’s main driving force. A couple years ago, longtime drummer Juergen Zoeller and guitarist Helmut Krumminga left, so I was a bit skeptical how the “new” BAP would sound. But with Ulrich Rode (guitar) and Soenke Reich (drummer), Niedecken brought in two top-notch musicians. The band sounded absolutely amazing – in fact, I would go as far as to say they sounded as good as never before!
I realize it would probably be pure coincidence for almost any American rock fan to have ever heard of BAP. Unfortunately, the American iTunes story is pretty measly when it comes to German rock music. But if you’re curious, there is one BAP album available there, Radio Pandora, which was released in 2008. It’s not a bad album to get an idea of the band’s music, though they have better music, in my opinion.