It’s probably a praise of the emerging (?!) Budapest concert scene to say that the number of bands which I get to see for the second, third, etc. time (non-local bands, mind you) is steadily increasing. This is primarily wonderful, and should be strongly encouraged, but also makes me wonder just what on Earth I might have written about them the first time(s) around. (Also yeah, I am getting old as well). I often discover with horror that I waxed lyrical about very similar things, or that I got attached to the same item of seemingly useless, but totally intriguing trivia.
Upon checking the 2015 bit about A Place to Bury Strangers, though, I discovered something useful: one of my main complaints at the time was that the last song was the one played amidst the crowd, thus being somewhat anticlimactic. Whereas this time, the mid-crowd jam session- as far as anything by APTBS can be addressed with as mild a term as jam-came in the middle of the set, which I found to work much better. The last song was instead a different kind of, okay, let’s go with this, noise jam session which included the band’s roadies and worked much better as an outro for me- I even appreciated the fact that they didn’t come back for an encore.
(A whole paragraph of side notes here: the encore is one of my pet hates at concerts. I know almost everyone does it, and it gives a welcome breather to the band before the last few songs, but I find it a bit self-congratulatory and tiresome. If we know from the setlist pretty much how long a set will be, let’s say 75 minutes for a club concert, and our heroic bunch depart to the backstage around the hour, this means they’ll be back for another three songs soon. Or not so soon- even more hateful than the encore itself is the long hiatus between the main set and the encore which is the specialty of particularly egotistical acts. So we just clap there and wait for the second coming and perhaps THE hit song. Or not.)
Returning to APTBS, then, I found it to be very honest and in line with their act that they just stormed onstage, unleashed a merciless wall of noise and then retreated without much further ado at the end, going as far as to then join the touring team behind the merch desk, which was filled with lots of fascinating gadgets besides the usual T-shirt and tote bags. As such, it was particularly difficult not to purchase a cassette tape, which I could not play any longer, alongside my randomly purchased vinyl records, which are also there for show only. (Some, let’s say a red Last Shadow Puppets single, are very fetching even as such.)
Since APTBS are most probably an acquired musical taste, my final suggestion would be to give them a couple of listens before a show, and if you like them, prepare to like them even more live. The noisy dissonance of their sound is more powerful on the spot and there’s some guitar banging involved too- right in the beginning of the show, way to start that, but at least some die-hard fans walked away with half a torn guitar, which on its way towards the thick of the crowd almost hit our blog’s industrious co-photographer. (The industrious co-photographer demanded a later edit be added here: the item actually hit him and was about to maim him for life, but mercifully didn’t.) Proof that a lot of exciting things happen in the front row.
PS: We checked out half of half of the opening acts, namely Brutus from Belgium, and they were surprisingly fitting the bill musically, and surprisingly not as bad as we’d initially assumed they would be.
PPS: APTBS have a new drummer, she’s a lady with lovely yellow pants, and they have lady roadies too. More respect to them for promoting equal opportunities in the world of music.