Alright, I’ll admit to my horrible little trick: I got Pink’s song title to headline the entry about the first day of Sziget (which is officially still minus one), because it’s so fitting, and then realized I hardly even feel like mentioning her concert, which might not be a pity after all, since everyone else seemed so concerned with it. They must have said everything there is to say, so I’ll focus on other matters presently.
Like how the winners of the Romanian Sziget Talent competition, Next Ex, again went on stage at an ungodly hour, namely 3:15 PM (waiting for the programmer to come up with the 4:37 and a couple of seconds slot). This is of course pretty much the dead zone of the day even if temperatures are not sub-Saharan. Except they were, so the band, similarly to Tony Baboon a couple of years back, had the odd task of playing to a crowd which was there in decent numbers, but sat relatively far away from the stage, perfectly matching the contours of the shade.
To add insult to injury, their Mac deserted its duties at one point due to the extreme heat. Respectus maximus, as Eugene Hutz would say, to them not losing their heads over it- the lead singer kept up the banter and cracked a vampire joke about the thing hating the sun while, in one of those feats of Eastern European resourcefulness, her band mate pointed a fan at the pesky machine. Things were back on track, and while this was obviously not a blow away performance, the band showed a lot of promise and poise, which could very well bring them back into one of the more coveted late afternoon or evening slots.
We then went over to Dubioza Kolektiv, somewhat dubiously promoted to the Main Stage in a very eclectic Wednesday mix, a project akin to those fruit juices which sound lovely until you find out they ground rocket and parsley into the damn concoction. They also played my very favourite song first, which might sound like a devious masterplan, but usually makes me lose interest a little in the gig.
As a general life hack and confidence booster, I suggest you go to all concerts as if you are the sole target and core audience of the act. Thus you can imagine Dubioza Kolektiv being totally gutted when I left somewhere into song four, at the very point when they were promoting online piracy. Or, later in the evening, Pink staring sadly into her organic pottage and thinking that all that dancing and flying amounted to nothing when those jerks were downing beers at the back and occasionally watching the bungee jumping. Which is flying people, by the way, so I can’t really see the point to everyone losing their mind over Pink doing a bit of acrobatics herself.
I shall spare a word for Billy Talent, though I am convinced deep inside that I should not. However, I will not be articulate about it, because that would be a waste of time, energy, and vocabulary items I could later put to better use in different contexts: they were bad. Like genuinely, evenly, constantly bad, a sad copy of Green Day with songs that each sound alike in their dreadfulness.
Saving me from the dread were Lola Marsh, from Israel, who are a band and not a girl. Questions of which one is Lola were spared though, because there was but one on stage, only her name is not Lola. It’s Yael Shoshanna if you care to know, and, hyperventilating a little, Cohen too. Perhaps not at the lyrical heights of the master, their sunny-sad pop is nevertheless a pleasant balm for mistreated ears, with a couple of absolute indie hit material tracks.
Fine, I will touch on the Pink aspect in more detail, basically because while staring into my cornflakes I had a great idea. (A case of in lacto veritas? Most probably just one of getting Latin declensions wrong.) So here it goes: I think Pink is a genuinely nice person, a good performer in case the Superbowl half time show is your standard. She’s also promoting empowerment and positive body image for women, something which we absolutely need. Also, lest we forget, she has one of those lovely, booming yet crystal clear voices. The only problem then, are the songs. They’re well crafted, but tantalizingly average songs. There’s no sound that could unite them into a whole, and no real feeling either. They are great products, but sub par melodies and when stringed together with a very professional band, dancers and a bit of flying they amount to ninety minutes of entertaining boredom but nothing more.
In case you were looking for catharsis, though, the place to end the evening was the MusicBox, with Aussie band Pierce Brothers– not just a gimmick, they are brothers, twins in fact. They somehow landed in their winter in Australia gear from Melbourne and were so genuinely, ridiculously, and later on alcohol-fueled-ly excited about being on Sziget that it soon rubbed off to the pretty impressive crowd. Their slightly Mumford and Sons tinted pop folk takes on an entirely different dimension when performed live. The two of them manage to play a wide array of instruments, often simultaneously, reaching ever higher levels of frenzy. Amidst all this, the brother manning the drum section manages to dodge a giant yellow balloon with the reflexes of a Roger Federer (was racking my mind for an Aussie player with those skills, but there’s none in living memory) and slowly but definitely turns into something of a sweaty surf Jesus. His original state was that of a man bun. This was wacky, beautiful and a fitting distillation of what Sziget’s spirit is really about.