A gig of two halves

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13 Nov 2010, 20:41

Wed 21 Jul – Taraf de Haïdouks & Boban Markovic Orkestar:

Fans of Taraf de Haïdouks, please accept my apologies in advance; i'm afraid i just did not get this group or their music. To me it sounded like the kind of thing you might hear in a cartoon in which a bunch of country mice are being pursued by a cat. Lots of mad fiddles and no drums.

That said, the first half of the gig which featured the Boban Markovic Orkestar was предиван ( for 'great' i hope).

It didn't look promising at the start: the concert began with an announcement from Boban's son Marko, the player with the group, that the great man couldn't be there. His mother had been taken ill and he was at the hospital with her. While i was briefly feeling robbed (and feeling guilty about it), my friend M, who had come along on my recommendation, was wondering what she'd let herself in for: "They look like dart players," she said.

I suppose they did in a way: apart from the lithe, young Marko the rest of the men were thickset middle-aged looking blokes in the kind of shirts that tough men wear when they get dressed up for the pub. There were about half a dozen of them altogether, all on .

Then the music started and our concerns vanished. These musicians were raw, lyrical and witty. They had us dancing on our seats. They were as tight as the tightest rock'n'roll band and as deceptively shambolic. The set list contained many of the tracks i'd already heard on their live album (which is where i discovered them - thanks eMusic) but as good as that recording is it didn't prepare you for the thrill of being there and experiencing them live.

All of which made the second half of the concert even more disappointing. Three songs in we knew we'd already had enough and decided to leave. But i'm not complaining: the first half of the gig was more than enough magic.

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