It took me quite some time to get around to writing this post (here’s another nail in the coffin of another New Year’s resolution, namely that one about not procrastinating blog entries), but maybe there’s some secret logic in here. Just recently, about 9 years into working close to Kinizsi street, I figured out that the boring little park next to our office building is the silent grave of the former Kultiplex- actually, it wasn’t even really me figuring out, I needed a little help from the blog’s industrious co-photographer, who insisted that this must have been the street. And indeed, it was.
You might have already figured out that I am not a genius of orientation, so I simply did not make the connection between the little park, which I usually visit from the office’s direction, and the defunct Kulti, which I used to approach from Üllői avenue. This in spite of the fact that I spent considerable time in Kulti, both watching films, and attending indie parties- of this latter kind there weren’t so many in Budapest at the time, the scene was just forming, so having seen or met someone there involves your being a real indiezaur of Budapest. I’d also go to the occasional concerts (funds permitting, at that time college studently scarce usually) and one of the bands I clearly recall were Hangmás, playing in Kulti in 2007- it struck me that, perhaps because they sang mostly in Hungarian there was a kind of honesty about them lacking from other bands which aped UK indie bands and sang in English.
There’s of course nothing inherently wrong with singing in English even if it’s not your mother tongue, but by singing in Hungarian Hangmás felt more definitory for our scene- ours and no one else’s. They never truly made it though, at least not in the common interpretation of the term, which is perhaps for the best, because most of the ‘influential’ local acts of the last ten years send shivers of deep horror down my spine. A decade on, they don’t even really exist anymore (some band members are playing as Black Bartók), so the anniversary Dürer kert koncert was possibly a one off.
It felt a bit odd to think that in those long gone days this very hall was where I feverishly scribbled away at my college exams- but it was strangely connective too, a deep dive into an entire era. (Of which lead singer Endre claims not to remember much, reasons for that to be found plentifully in his lyrical output). When asked from the stage whether they attended the 2007 gig, a remarkably large section of the crowd screamed yes I did. Yet in spite of this, it was not simply and not only about nostalgia- the energy of the music was still present, the almost cheesy but still catchy synth lines, the quirky lyrics, they all felt right. This is still a band that the Budapest night needs, so here’s to hoping that this was not just a one off after all.
PS: I do keep some of my promises, though, and I again checked out the opening act. Though perhaps I shouldn’t have- punk, in any of its iterations, was never my favourite genre, so Gustave Tiger will never top my list of preferences at anything. The only relief was that, as required by the canon, their tracks are short, so we got to Hangmás quickly, albeit not totally painlessly.