• Muse, Budapest Arena, October 10th 2007

    11 Oct 2007, 17:44

    Wed 10 Oct – Muse

    I take Matt Bellamy saw Budapest Arena and smiled. Finally, a flying saucer fit for an intergalactic warrior. Too bad the aliens failed to properly populate it. There are dark corners of the universe where bliss is hard to be found. Astronomers named them black holes and everybody who has the slightest knowledge of physics or Star Trek knows they are to be feared and avoided. Matt Bellamy smiles again. He knows so much more about black holes than we mere mortals do. He knows how to make them supermassive.
    He said let there be light in this hole draped in black curtains. And there was. He said let us take a bow in front of forces higher than us. And we did. He said let us spread hysteria into world and let us shake up even the last row of people in this goddamn hole. And they did. He made his map of the problematique. Now, they might be few, but they are righteous.Let us give them butterflies and hurricanes, and then sing a song about them, about their own private black hole and the way it is supermassive.
    All aliens, even the least worthy one, were feeling good. And then came the apocalypse. Those walls knew, that no matter how many souls might have inhabited them before, they never ever rocked so hard. And the 4000 brave warriors deserved a song just for them, a soldier's poem. They all felt invincible, and starlight invaded their black souls. But by now they knew time was running out, that this moment of intense life will end, and they will go out into the world with the eyes of a newborn. They felt as if they were taken prisoners by music coming from other spheres of existence- but stockholm syndrome never felt so good before.
    Then darkness came again, and the aliens were afraid to go back into the cruel night. But Matt knew it was too soon to leave them- they got plugged in again to the universal vibration. They became the knights of cydonia and learned how to fight for their rights. Their right to listen to starfleet commander Bellamy take them into another galaxy.
    And although Matt did not sing explicitly for their absolution, and many were so saddened by this, in the end they knew that in some ways they were all absolved. Even those who stayed away. They were all connected to something good, some higher power and together they were invincible.
  • Sziget 2007

    23 Ago 2007, 19:16

    Wed 8 Aug – Sziget

    We started Sziget with the general mistake of coming by the 6 AM train, which ruins your well being and your lust for life for the day to come. Add to this the ordeal of having to start your main stage experience with scorching heat, bad quality langos and Nitzer Ebb. I guess the first two are things you can handle, since it is the first day and you should have some extra energy. Nitzer Ebb is a tougher job. It’s basically two guys and a girl with a synthesizer, drums and a bit of obscene gesturing. Right, we can palate the main singer, a Briton it seems, touching his intimate parts, it’s all free and jolly here, but for the rest of the parade the German authorities might have had a few objections. But this is Budapest; we’re all geared up for the next show, Mando Diao, quite unfortunately the screamy/sweaty girls too. Their constant fidgeting and hysteria can make you forget what a great band the Swedes actually are- they definitely don’t help themselves and their credibility factor by being dead pretty and taking off their clothes at the end of the show, though, hey, it IS damn hot. So their set in not stellar or sophisticated, but it’s still a hell of a little rock show under the hot Budapest sun and God, we need more of those. And when Bjorn Dixgard took to purring out Ochrasy even the scream gang to our right managed to gather their dislocated selves and shut up. In the evening it’s Manu Chao’s turn, and blessed be his revolutionary soul, he tries hard. Actually, the show is not bad at all; it just gives the impression of an overlong jam session among friends, though most people would say that that’s exactly the charm of it. The organizers seem to disagree and pull the plug twice, leaving poor Manu in the dark. He has to be given credit for not stopping for a second and making noise onstage even during the forced breaks, although this is pretty much lost on the back half of the audience.
    After Manu Chao we experience part one of the misery that will plague us for the following week- scurrying like rats to the Wan2 stage and pretty much succumbing due to heat, lack of air and people moving around like mad- this beats me, actually. They must have noticed, that it’s a bloody tent after all, packed with people, and they can do so much harm by pushing people around and stepping on their feet. Most acts starting at 11 in the Wan2 tent could be enjoyed from a distance too- you could have a nice little dance party to Cassius or a chill out session to Hooverphonic right next to the exit. Well, until the big guy looking for his lady who was actually in the Tibi pop music tent spilled his beer on you and broke your nose. So whatever one could say about these acts has to be coupled with environmental conditions. We bravely made it to the third row to see IAMX on day two, and we will probably quote it as one of our great survival acts to our grandchildren. No one should blame Chris Corner, though. His performance was just as it should be: atmospheric, dark and glitzy at the same time, plus you have to praise the man for his pretty feathered hat and faultless colour coordination.
    On day two, there came the rain. Most people who attend Sziget know the terrible implications of this phenomenon, especially to those who dwell in tents. Of course, some fellow islanders soaked with the local, well, slightly dubious beers, organized a lovely mud bath reminiscent of Glastonbury- but those guys have it coming, while we keep hoping for sunny weather every year. The rainy afternoon was an excellent backdrop for The Good, The Bad and The Queen. They were elegant and thoroughly enjoyable in a very royal way- after all Damon Albarn is a bit of a Britpop royalty on his own right and sent all the cameras in the area into a frenzy. A loft of people would say that the Chemical Brothers are a bit past their day, and that two guys with turntables can be darn boring, But they weren’t. The concert was pure an unaltered festival party feeling, light show, mad dancing and substance abuse included.
    Friday was still pleasant weather-wise, and it kicked out in unaltered gypsy punk style with Gogol Bordello. The guys (and girls) looked good in their attempt to cover all the colours of the spectrum with their stage outfits-it was probably this colour frenzy that made us check out the Luminarium instead of Laurent Garnier. This was a mistake, but at least it spared us from hanging around and being the victims of the abomination regularly referred to as Pink. So the gang split and some stayed on in the evening to watch Madness, but I cannot give my opinion on that since I scrambled to the World Music Stage to listen to Rachid Taha. In spite of the rain, which came down in several showers of varied intensity, there was quite a big crowd, mostly made up of French speaking people and the World Music Stage regulars. Rachid was clearly out of it- we later read it was jet lag but it sure looked like something very different from where I stayed. Not that it mattered, though he lost his microphone on several occasions and drew his stage crew mad, the show was brilliant in its imperfect way, all the great tunes were there and the show had a feeling of it’s own. Before these concerts we actually managed to squeeze in a local act, The Moog. The boys are pretty, have pretty clothes and sing pretty music. A bit of a Strokesy feeling overtook us, but that’s not a sin-it can be quite refreshing if it’s done in the right way.
    Couting out Kispal and The Borz, with their usual junk festival show, Saturday was probably THE day of the festival. It was started by The Rakes- we mistrusted the band before their performance, but they turned out to be a lovely surprise. Alan Donohoe connected well with the audience, cracked the occasional jokes and the guys performed some swell songs- no overblown ambitions. They left those to The Hives. The Hives also rely heavily on their lead singer, and, well, they are right to do so. There are a few things Howlin’ Pelle did not do- he screamed his lovely lungs out, climbed onto the sides of the stage, wallowed in the dust in front of the audience and descended the stage stairs in a snakesy fashion the mechanics of which we are still trying to make out. Right, we will spare further explanations- the show was fucking brilliant. Then, in the evening, darkness descended over the main stage, pain, trials and tribulations, redemption. Nine Inch Nails. They were everything the crowd wanted them to be, and more, Trent even offered the audience some well deserved noize music halfway through the set and then an unexpected rendition of Hurt for the finale. The image of Reznor playing behind a wall of metal and light is probably one of the lasting experiences of the festival.
    It all went a bit downhill from here- the next day Sinead O Connor proved a bit too silent and ascetic for a festival, while Razorlight bordered on rubbish, no matter how sexy Johnny Borrell tried to look in white- wrong festival colour, by the way, he obviously did not think of checking out the muddy Sziget scene, like Reznor had done two nights before. Faithless were okay, Maxi Jazz being friendly and loving and trying to save the world and all that- but lost out a bit if compared to their obvious rivals, The Chemicals. Monday was a low by all means- !!! were nice in their well organized chaos, but could not make up for the catastrophic experiences of Tankcsapda ( I will waste no more words on them) and Tool. We checked out Tool cause our friends love them. It was boring and incredibly annoying at the same time- something like the Chinese water torture in it’s musical form. All songs sounded the same, wailing bass guitar, some percussion and a voice lost in this musical nowhere- we noticed the singer showed us his lovely back. An enigmatic artist, we see. But we did not find the enigma.
    The last day was unfortunately marked by Chris Cornell’s absence, but the rest of the American colony were alive and kicking. Eagles of Death Metal showed up minus Josh Homme, but the show was still genuine desert sweat rock at its best. Juliette and the Licks were also palatable- though we are not particularly fond of Ms Lewis’ onstage antics. The festival was ended by The Killers. It was a bit screamy ladies revisited and we had to struggle with the fear that Mr Flowers might lose his voice midway through the best songs. His voice did falter, but it never failed, a quality that often makes their tunes sound even better. The stage props were all shiny, twinkling, Killers like glamour-bordering on kitsch, but at the end of the day no one should deny the fact that the Killers wrote some of the most memorable songs of the new millennium. If you beg to differ, that’s okay. Somebody told me it’s just indie rock’ roll and I like it.