Live Music + Gig Reviews

Sziget 2010: Day 2 @ Obudai Sziget, Budapest

12 August 2010

Day 2 begins with a foray down the avenue of tents set up by charitable and governmental organisations known as Civil Sziget. Those with English drinking habits best avoid the Alcoholism Awareness Tent if they feel that free biscuits aren’t sufficient compensation for being told by a survey that they may have a ‘potentially serious alcohol addiction,’ while at 15 forints (5p), a conversation with a Rabbi is an absolute steal, and perfect for getting some divine inspiration about how to deal with those awkward timetable clashes.

A brief stop at the MR2 stage sees local unsigned act The Twist deliver a broadly indie set, with a stylistic range spanning both The xx and Maroon 5, as well as a quality to match even the most inflated reputations of Anglo-American guitar bands.

The festival’s commitment to world music is without parallel. Over here, ‘world music’ isn’t simply a means to a false air of sophistication, but a genuinely popular group of musical styles which are enjoyed without pretence. The real highlight on this stage comes early in the afternoon, as Hungarian group Besh o droM fire out stunning, hypnotic cascades of balkan brass coloured by haunting vocal harmonies and a raw energy that have even a 5 o’clock crowd up on their feet skanking for all they’re worth.

The second major clash of the festival comes later this evening, forcing a choice between Simian Mobile Disco, Skindred and The Specials. Those who plump for the British electro duo are rewarded with an enormous, euphoric rave in the Party Arena. Despite the 7pm start, the keenness of the capacity crowd surprises even the performers, who in return leap around their consoles with an undying energy, pumping out tune after tune, enormous basslines and a tastefully impressive lightshow.

Faithless close proceedings on the main stage, a beautiful visual display and mesmerising trance music causing a collective holding of breath. Then, out of nowhere, Insomnia happens. The Main Stage arena is transformed, a writhing mass of dancing bodies, right up to the back. It’s a truly mesmerising sight, and not even the occasionally weedy-sounding rap from Maxi Jazz can tarnish the euphoric riffs issuing from the front. To see and hear so many of the quintessential tunes which have been providing the soundtrack to the club tents during the week, live and unadulterated, is nothing short of humbling.

  1. Sziget 2010:
    Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

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