Posts

You can never get too much of a good thing

I have a vague memory of something about diminishing marginal utility – a vague recollection of my Economics teacher trying to convince us that the more we had of something, the less we’d enjoy it. And yes, there is an argument for seldom being wonderful. And there might well be a case to be made for delayed gratification. Personally, though, I’m all for the never getting enough of a good thing.

Last night was the fourth time I’ve seen the  wonderful Budapest Bár. Twice this summer alone. And they’re brilliant. They’ve yet to disappoint. I’d go even further and say that they could never disappoint, but I know better than to say never – it has a habit of biting me in the ass.

We had three newbies with us – three mates who had never seen the lads before. Okay, so I might have gone a little over the top in my enthusiasm about Frenk, and perhaps in their eyes he didn’t live up to his billing, but hey, taste is personal. I still think that he’s God’s gift to creation.

And he did his fab duet with Németh Juci – The Wild Rose- made famous by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue. That’s a song I can’t get enough of. Last time I saw them, I got to see Kiss Tibi from Quimby live in action and subsequently went to one of his gigs – brilliant. This time I saw Szűcs Krisztián from Heaven Street 7. I might well be keeping an eye out for those boys, too.

Last year, I saw them in the Zoo. Last night’s gig was in the courtyard of the Petőfi Literary Museum. And that’s just part of what makes summer in Budapest so special. These outdoor gigs. Popping up in courtyards and parks and kert bars all over the city. Everything from the more cultural venues like museums to the down and dirty Budapest Park (scene of my unfortunate accident some weeks ago – and yes, I’m still in pain). And when you’re dealing with concert tickets ranging from €5 to the €12 we paid for last night’s gig, there’s no limit to the number you can try out. So if HS7 aren’t all that Szűcs might seem to promise, I won’t be too disappointed.

So my mates were more impressed with Juci than with Frenk and in fairness, the woman certainly has a set of lungs. And that’s the beauty of the Bár – there are so many of them that there’s always going to be someone there for everyone.

I reckon I could fit at least one more BB gig this summer. As I say, you can never get enough of a good thing… and yes, the ‘never’ here is intentional 🙂

Monkeys, by any other name, are still monkeys

Could I have two tickets for tonight’s concert, please?
It’s sold out.
No tickets?
Yes, there are tickets. But it’s sold out.
So, can I get two tickets?
Yes, but you will have to stand.
That’s no problem.
Can I go in now to see the zoo?
No. You’re standing. You can’t go in until the concert starts. Only those with seats can go in early.

IMG_4158 (800x600)I had come to Budapest Zoo to see Budapest Bar in concert. The website said that with your ticket you could enter at 7 pm, check out the animals, and then see the gig. But only if you got a seated ticket, apparently. If you were standing, then you couldn’t go in. This made no sense. If I was wandering around looking at the animals, I wouldn’t be sitting in a seat? But hey… I was tired. I’d had a bad day. And I really wanted to see Budapest Bar.

So I bought the tickets and then killed an hour in the local IBIS bar. Not the most fascinating place I’ve ever had a drink in, but the wine was wet and came in a glass and I’d had a bad day. I said that already, didn’t I?

Those of you paying attention will remember that Budapest Bar was the band that impressed me most at Sziget. A gypsy band with six musicians who play the cymbol, keyboards, violin, double bass, drums, and accordion, they attract a who’s who of Hungarian contemporary singers. The craic they had on stage had the audience in stitches and us mono linguists wishing for the billionth time that we had the Hungarian to get the humour.

IMG_4153 (800x600)And the joy that is Budapest Bar is that they open up a completely new world of new voices. I now have a major girl crush on Németh Juci. And a major boy crush on Frenk. Together, their rendition of Wild Rose was mindblowing.

My second favourite song of the evening was Frenk – again – with the Alabama Song… this was the one that converted me to Budapest Bar in Sziget.

And in third place was a version of Purple Rain that was, to my mind, better than any one I have ever heard, including the original. Frenk and a girl called Sandi… who in her own right was bloody amazing, too. The talent… the talent…

Fourth place (after this I gave up ranking) went to Rutkai Bori for Mr Alkohol. But you need to see her in action to appreciate the animation. As the inimitable MLB said: I’d wrap her up and take her home.

They played everything from the Pulp Fiction opening number to David Bowie’s Everything will be alright tonight. It was undoubtedly the best 1900 huf (€6/$8) I have ever spent on live music.

These lads love their stuff. The singers, all of them, are animated, acting as well as singing. The audience of about 800 souls chilling out (literally) in the low twenties open air at the zoo on a Thursday night in Budapest were with them all the way. Sure what else would you be doing?

Next door, in Gundel  (perhaps the most expensive restaurant in the city) patrons sitting on the terrace had a great vantage point and a free gig. But it would be hard to begrudge them, seeing as some entrées on that particular menu go for 40000 huf (about €125 or $175).

The booze wasn’t cheap cheap… but the setting more than made up for it. It was a gorgeous evening. Great music, good wine, scintillating company. What more could a body ask for?

Well, I’d have liked to have seen the monkeys!

PS They’re playing a gig in the synagogue on Sept 3. If you’re in town, it’s well worth trying to get tickets.