From Zen to Crazy- Sziget Day Four

When Sziget starts, like in the reckless years of your youth, you assume it will last forever. Then of course it never does, and towards Saturday evening there were tell-tale signs of approaching doom: the Dutch running around with branches, cause they want to take a bit of the island home, people of all nationalities happily sleeping through concerts, because festival tired beats dead tired any day. 
 
But let’s not rush forward, much went down before Saturday came to an end, and well, some of it was pretty questionable. The moment I first saw the final programme it occurred to me that the week end is somewhat weaker line up-wise- can’t say if it was a conscious decision from the organizers, given that more people will come anyways on days when they don’t work, or a quirk caused by navigating the schedules of so many acts.
 
Suffice to say, we started the day in the NGO area, where we found further evidence that everyone on Sziget is secretly Belgian on the “which country do you come from?” pin board. Smug like scientists who just split the atom, we then rolled on outwards, towards the beach. Before reaching the cooling waters of the Danube, we also investigated the art zone, where quite a few people were braving the heat under a not completely hell proof shade and sculpting. Yes, sculpting, tiny chisels and all. As someone who has two left hands I was struck with awe at how after five days of Sziget madness some people still have the skill to make unicorns- they were the preferred sculptable item, as the location itself is called unicorn factory. 
 
The beach chill out is always highly dangerous, because it engenders thoughts of the ‘oh I wish this could last forever’ and ‘I am zenner than the Dalai Lama’ kind but we trotted back to A38 nevertheless, where we were very pleasantly surprised by William Fitzsimmons, a man whom, in spite of my pre-Sziget promise to thoroughly investigate the line up, I had not yet googled and the loss is all mine. The first signs weren’t all that promising, as the tent was near empty, and then the man shows up, better said very quietly sneaks onto the stage, with a superlative beard and a guitar in hand. 

So William is a singer-songwriter, from Illinois, had some songs featured in Grey’s Anatomy apparently, and in a world where everybody wants to blow your neurons into fast sound induced death is an absolute breath of fresh air. Or, as our fellow photographer remarked amidst his recent flurry of useful observations, Fitzsimmons is relaxing. And we need him like oxygen, because the whatever which was happening on the main stage might one day lead to the extinction of the human species.
 
Before we comment on the two later acts, we must mention that local lads Punnany Massif, coming on at four, were perfectly okay, it’s just that the heat was so intense that most people could hardly focus on anything else than the moment when the water spraying brigade reached them with their life giving implements. Then someones called Hollywood Undead raged for the dying of the light, looking a bit silly in the process, as they are the most average copy of Linkin Park anyone could come up with. (I am again musing on how some bands cannot be anything else but very clever scientific experiments on manipulating people’s taste- and spending.)
 
I had actually promised myself not to go ballistic over Major Lazer, because they’re not worth the hassle, but Diplo can be so infuriating at times that William Fitzsimmons’ best attempts to calm me very sadly in vain. Now Major Lazer is nothing more than Avicii for hipsters, because Diplo is goddamn out there, the man listens to all kinds of exotic sounds before they are cool and then he makes them bloody mainstream, okay, we have a contradiction here, but nothing that cannot be solved by repeatedly shouting out Major Lazer to a thumping beat. Are you feeling alright Budapest? Say Major Lazer! Everyone having a good time? Major Lazer! Look at my dancers shaking their booty! Major Lazer! 
 
Between two yelps of the crowd I spared a thought of how around 2003 M.I.A walked into a bar and found Diplo not being cool at all, and then fast forward a decade and a bit, and oh, M.I.A I love you to shreds but you shouldn’t have done this to us. Wikipedia again comes to our aid, firstly by simply being so jam packed with edgy names in Diplo’s entry, that you perfectly understand where the hipster love comes from, and you also realize that the man is a talent vampire. And then here comes a description of the music: “disparate genres to be smashed together for maximum attention-grabbing impact.” Well, at least he’s honest about it. Horrendous as his show was, he still managed to up the game a notch or so when he first declared he would like to go on partying, and when the organizers offered him a spot on the A38 boat, where hordes of hipsters were packed into the hull waiting for the magnificent mash up genius to turn up-well, obviously, he didn’t. For all those who had to leave the island and wait for their dose of big nothing, are you angry people?! Say Major Lazer!
 
In order to get better vibes, we managed to squeeze in a bit of Sziget nostalgia checking out the Germans from Beatsteaks, who used to be a main stage staple back in the old days. Without wishing to offend anyone, German musical tastes have always seemed odd to me, to say the least, so fond as I am of them for their Sziget veteran status, they will never be my Halbe of lager, but I give extra points to the lead singer for his wonderfully committed socks.
 
So then, Kings of Leon had a tough task: for me, their set would make or break the day, and mercifully it turned out to be the first. Checking their very sparse summer festival schedule I realized what a fortunate catch they were for Sziget, as they seem to do about two shows grouped together per month, with a penchant for exotic locations such as Iceland or Gibraltar. But enough of mostly useless trivia, back to the music. It was good. And it’s not for lack of better words I’m saying this, but because I feel it makes sense in the context: Sziget needed a band making good music. No fuss, well executed, honest Americana, with a bit of the smell of the desert and an aftertaste of bourbon. It may not have been the crowd pleasing extravaganza some people have come to always expect from the headliner, but it was the better for that: less can be more.
 
We must here confess to a (not so) mild form of Sziget ADD, which made us trot out into the night about midway through the Kings to check out Foxes, in the now traditionally empty-ish ten PM slot. Given the conditions, she did her best- her catchy-dancy-poppy tracks went down well, but since she only has one album to her name, she had to do some covers/jamming in between, where we lost interest a bit and decided to return to the main stage. We do see promise in the young lady though and hope to see her in a more suitable environment. Our ADD now kicked in in full blown force and we actually managed to check out one song from Goran Bregović‘s set: it turned out to be his classic closing gimmick of having people shout out ‘Attack!’ in local language to the tune of Kalashnikov, so we concluded all’s well with the man. To add to the Balkan theme we had also consumed a pljeskavica from the Montenegrói Gurman stand strategically placed in the proximity of the world music stage, which is our best foodie advice if you want to survive Sziget beers and spritzers relatively unharmed. 
 
Because sometimes we like to lay blame on other people, we must emphasize that our ADD is strongly encouraged by Sziget’s new set up, where the three major stages are now only around five minutes’ walk from each other- and there is a Bermuda triangle of some sort in the middle where you can overhear the hum of all three, and there are some people camping there, and their insanity must be full blown by now. 
 
Before taking our rest to gear up for the final day, which might or might not involve rain, we took some time to check out Paloma Faith. The quarter to twelve slot in A38 is as generous as the ten o’clock one is unfortunate, so her brand of cabaret jazz tinted pop went down pretty well, except with the blissful people huddled up to the wall’s tents sleeping. Outside, the night was cool and in full swing- so here it is, a new accomplishment, how to end the entry with practical advice: if you want to stay cool in the heat wave, go to Sziget, they keep you hydrated during the day and the nights are a charm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: