It has dawned on me, with certain amount of horror, that I have neglected mentioning the fact that the Arctic Monkeys are coming to Sziget, which is some sort of a crime, and one day, when a pigeon shits on my favourite cardigan, I will know bad karma came hurtling in my direction. Of course they were announced separately, as a sole mighty headliner to brighten up a whole day and week, and deep in my heart I did feel that the whole universe needs me sharing my old Arctic Monkeys pictures to celebrate this fact, but then I said perhaps it doesn’t necessarily. (It does. Pictures are below.)
This week’s announcement was thus a bit of a, how should I put this nicely, humbug? It’s not that it is bad, per se, but it does not pack the punch of the previous ones. Gorillaz are one of the headliners, and I know that there is another pigeon waiting to shit on an object of my affection, but I will say it: they have been to Budapest twice last year, once in the weirdly under advertised and finally partially empty Electronic Beats promotion event, and once in the Arena, which, again, they did not fill. And I love Damon Albarn to shreds (this being one of the pillars of my world view), but I just don’t feel that yet another Gorillaz show is the spark Sziget’s Main Stage needs now, in spite of the fact that his Blur show is still, and perhaps forever will be, my favourite ever. Let’s say I leave a door open for him to prove me wrong.
I am not certain about the advisability of leaving a door open to Dua Lipa, though. And before I hurtle on with my thoughts, what is this with singers of Albanian origin and the scarcity of letters in their names? Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, Bebe Rexha- is there a tradition that any Albanian with a name longer than five letters will have a life of misery and failure and thus parents strive for frugality to ensure a prosperous life for their offspring? In Dua’s case it seems to have worked, and she’s thus landed her fairly bland electro-pop on Sziget’s Main Stage, for which endeavour I wish her all the luck of people with short names, I just won’t be there to see it.
Shawn Mendes is a very niche pleasure, not unlike Finnish liquorice vodka, and as a lover of the latter, I will give my blessing to all the 11 to 13 year-olds who make this their first Sziget, drag their long suffering parents along and bow to the might of the teenage heart throb, who is apparently on the verge of releasing a third album. As in altogether, in his career, which makes him pale in comparison with the fascinatingly named King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, who hail from both Australia and the 70s, play psychedelic rock and have released a whopping five albums in 2017 only.
The two really exciting names from the list, though, are Stormzy and The War on Drugs. Sziget always does a great job at giving a taster of genres which are otherwise less popular in Hungary, and although grime might be huge in the UK, it’s hard to imagine promoters bringing Stormzy for a solo gig to Budapest, though, who knows, with the recent flurry of great club concerts I might soon be proven wrong, and for once I will not regret it. The War on Drugs, for their part, are a wonderful UFO of a band: after years of struggling with odd jobs and episodes of depression, Adam Granduciel put together a mesmerizing mixture of indie rock with a pinch of psychedelia perfectly in tune with its day and age.
There’s a score of smaller to outright tiny names added to the bill, of which some might even prove discoveries, and some will be the subject of the annual guinea pigging exercise. Nicky Murphy fka Chet Faker might argue that he is not smaller, and particularly not tiny, but when you change your name from Faker to Murphy, anything can happen. JP Cooper and Lianne La Havas share an interest in soul (I’ve also now realized I’d heard one of Cooper’s songs during one of my infamous sock buying raids in H&M, no joke), Borgore are back, presumably to the Party Arena, but so far the most exciting name of the ’tiny list’ are Sofi Tukker, who hail from New York and play electronic music, and decided to sing many of their songs in Portuguese, because frankly why not.
Round up of the previous announcement here.
Full list of names, in magnificent alphabetical order, here for your enjoyment: Above & Beyond * Alle Farben * Arctic Monkeys * Bastille * Bilderbuch * Blossoms * Borgore * Cigarettes After Sex * Clean Bandit * Delta Heavy * Desiigner * Dua Lipa *Everything Everything * Fink * Gogol Bordello * Goo Goo Dolls * Gorgon City live * Gorillaz * Jay Hardway * Joe Goddard live * JP Cooper * Kaleo * Kendrick Lamar * King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard * KSHMR * Kygo * La Femme * Lemaitre * Lewis Capaldi * Liam Gallagher * Lianne La Havas * Little Dragon * Lykke Li * Milky Chance * MØ * Mumford & Sons * My Baby * Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker * Nothing But Thieves * Parov Stelar * Perturbator * Petit Biscuit * Sam Feldt live * Scarlxrd * Seasick Steve * Seven Lion * Shame * Shawn Mendes * Slaves * Sofi Tukker * Stormzy * The Him * The Kooks * The Living End * The War On Drugs * Ummet Ozcan * WhoMadeWho * Wolf Alice * Yellow Days * Zara Larsson