Welcome to the Spring-Summer of our Contentment- A Budapest Concert Calendar

Spending too much time in a corporate environment does many strange things to people, one of them being the fact that you only really trust data which comes in an Excel format, and you only truly respect it if there is a convoluted macro involved. Being myself a victim of this delusion, I decided to keep an Excel tracker of the concerts I am planning to attend, with dates and purchasing status- this we shall call the procurement aspect of my operations. Next up is the price itself, the current sum of which, should I have a CFO (for those untainted by corporate three letter words, that’s a chief financial officer) other than myself would be immediately disapproved and I would be guilty of some horrific bypass. A recent internal review I conducted has also uncovered certain errors in date registration, mercifully, just on time, as although I have often been on the verge of catastrophe, I have never forgotten about a concert.

Nor do I intend to, so I religiously cater to my tracker, and beautify it with many many colours, which is undeniably the best function of Excel, especially when you can match violent yellow with electric pink in a thinly veiled attempt to blind and confuse your enemy. This is, I admit, a long and convoluted opening, but the result is hopefully worth it. The whole point is that, probably for the first year ever, Budapest is overflowing with great concerts in both small and large venues, and below, based on my meticulous and scientific consolidation, comes a list of suggestions.

We kick off with Omar Souleyman on February 9, in Dürer Kert– we here being the royal and Scottish we, for the blog’s industrious co-photographer is scared witless of Omar and has declined the opportunity to indulge in his raucous if admittedly somewhat mind-bending mix of electronica and Syrian wedding music. Obviously his loss. Next up is King Krule, on February 13 in A38. Not only does this mean that one of the hottest tickets of UK music is visiting us at the height of the hype, but the fact that it was sold out on the day the tickets were released revealed his surprisingly large local following too.

Please don’t ask me what the rules for someone being big in Hungary are, I could never fathom them, and I personally prefer Ghostpoet (playing A38 on February 23) to King Krule, though they’re not necessarily the same genre of course, perhaps it’s more a case of my innate suspicions towards jazz, the influence of which can be strongly felt on King Krule’s tunes and preference for trip hop, which, you guessed right, is more Ghostpoet’s thing. Just a couple of days before Ghostpoet, so on February 21st,  legendary German synth wizards Kraftwerk will be bringing their 3D show to the Arena.

Son Lux are apparently another mysterious local darling, though they sold out slower, albeit in the marginally bigger venue of Dürer Kert, where they will be playing on March 2. I had to rush to Wave to get my hand on one of the last tickets, which was fortuitous in many ways, as after years of reveling in the dubious pleasure of buying tickets online and printing them at home I am now back in the fold of those seeking the real thing. Plus Wave is a very pleasant little record store, one of the few still remaining in Budapest and since buying vinyl would be a bit over the top, as I do not own a device to play them (I feel my hipster credentials plummeting way below zero here), I can at least sponsor them by buying tickets. Most shows organized by New Beat, incidentally one of the coolest promoters around, for whose efforts of bringing rare gems to Budapest I am eternally grateful, have tickets available in Wave.

Just one day later, March 3  brings Com Truise to A38, and to make the lovers of all things synth writhe around with joy, Carpenter Brut also lands in Akvárium on March 7– the simile should not deter you, he is not an Olympic diver but a Frenchman playing muscly electronica and if you like him, you’re also strongly advised to check out his buddy Perturbator, recently added to Sziget’s line-up. I am also currently thinking of a French themed joked beginning with the phrase Carpenter Brut and Perturbator walk into a brasserie.

My first thought when I saw the video for the new Editors single, Magazine (almost refrained form using superlatives like sublime, magnificent and stupendous but finally couldn’t), was OMG! they will have a new album out, this must mean they are going on tour and perhaps…oh wait, they already have a Budapest date (April 16, Akvárium), since last autumn. It’s not often that bands plan so thoroughly ahead without the album release dates yet in sight, so I am assuming someone in their management team also has a beautiful Excel and I warmly support their endeavours.

We’ll then have some sort of breather until mid-May, when Yo La Tengo will be playing A38 on the 13th, which I find exciting but slightly odd, as my favourite track from them is Autumn Sweater, which I religiously start listening to every year in early October. Bonobo, playing on May 23rd in Budapest Park are however very suited to warmer times of the year, and will thus fittingly be opening our outdoor venue season.

June brings three absolute zingers: two of them were hotly tipped for last year’s much maligned Sziget line up, but did not make it in the end (hence the grumbling). Arcade Fire will thus be playing the Arena on the 17th of June, while Queens of the Stone Age will be coming to Budapest Park on the 21st– will also crack a questionable Josh Homme jibe here and mention I bought tickets to the terrace, so I can both see him, but be comfortably far away from his boot. Finally, on June 23rd, Massive Attack are back in town, playing in the Arena, and they come along the wonderful Scottish Young Fathers as their opening act, further proof to their all around greatness as artists and human beings. Also, if we find a somewhat sketchy Banksy stencil along the pub crawl route of the 7th district, we’ll have definite evidence that Robert Del Naja is both Banksy, and has had too much Unikum.

Just to prove I do not live in an indie cave (it’s actually a flat with Arctic Monkeys posters on the wall where the blog’s industrious co-photographer objects to my constant playing of ALT-J), here are a couple of others things I found on this spring-summer’s, I will again insist on this, very impressive Budapest concert calendar: Depeche Mode are back, perhaps because Dave Gahan really likes shopping in Budapest convenience stores, playing the Arena on February the 2nd (obviously sold out), and then the great man can check out the convenience stores in Sopron as well, as they will be playing this summer’s VOLT Festival too.  

For those of darker dispositions, Sepultura (alongside the delicately named Goatwhore and Fit for an Autopsy) will be in Barba Negra on February 25th, with Dürer Kert trying to live up to its status as the heaviest minded of Budapest clubs with Alien Ant Farm on February 26th, Napalm Death on March 1st and Trivium on March 29th. Fu Manchu are also on the spring’s menu, playing on A38 on March 16th, while the godfathers (refrained from calling them grandfathers) of heavy metal, Metallica themselves will be playing the Arena on April 5th- the concert is of course sold out, but you can always try your luck on Ticketswap. Budapest Park is bringing Bullet for My Valentine on the 18th of June and Alice in Chains on the 1st of July, while The Offspring will be taking to the rather odd venue of Tüskecsarnok on June 12th, previously known more for momentous gigs by the likes of Toto Cutugno and Anastacia.

Those who find the above somewhat hard to digest might instead opt for Emeli Sande, playing the Arena on February the 18th and Caro Emerald, playing the same venue on the 26th of the month– neither of them seems Arena worthy to me, and the affluence of posters around town might suggest that their promoters are starting to worry too, but perhaps I am wrong and these are again mysterious local loves I can’t comprehend. Kensington I can’t comprehend for sure, and still live with the horror of the jam packed A38 tent on Sziget jumping around to about twelve of their absolutely identical poppy songs. If that’s your thing, head to Barba Negra on April the 8th. 

The beginning of May brings an odd couple to the Arena: Roger ‘Angry at Everything’ Waters, playing on the 2nd of May is followed by James ‘Beautiful’ (and Twitter Hero) Blunt  on the 8th. Billy Idol is also making a comeback from whatever realm old punks turned a wee soft are inhabiting, and will be playing Budapest Park on July 2nd. I am however leaving the absolute best for last here: Scooter are back in Budapest Park on June 9th. Hyper hyper!

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