Music Diggin’ Friday: Poets of the Fall, Budapest, A38, 25th April 2019

In the renewed Music Diggin’ Friday I’m going to write about all kinds of music related stuff. Lists, new releases, concerts, and whatever shit that comes to mind. 

VIP Meet & Greet

For those who follow my blog know that Poets of the Fall is one of my favorite bands. When last year they announced that the Ultraviolet tour will finally come to Budapest, I was practically over the moon. I didn’t even think about purchasing a VIP ticket – even though I always swear I won’t do that. I just can’t resist the opportunity to see the bands I admire up close. All that said, I didn’t really have high expectations this time around – I did in the future and ended up being disappointed – so it was actually a nice surprise when the doors finally opened and everyone who had VIP ticked filed in. The band stood by a table, and everyone got a picture signed by them, and while we waited for them to sign, we could exchange a few words with every member. Seemed like they were happy to be in Budapest and not only as a tourist. They’ve been chatting away merrily with everyone, smiling, thanking us for being there. Sadly, we couldn’t take photos with them much, but there was one big group picture taken once the signing ended. As a bonus, they played two songs in acoustic version, just for us: Late Goodbye and Children of the Sun. Now, Late Goodbye is one of my early favorites, and this is the song they got known with after it was featured in the Max Payne game. Anyway, the moment they started to play I instantly got goosebumps and a lump in my throat. It was an emotional moment. Children of the Sun is not on the top of my list, but holy shit, Marko singed the high note at the end like it was the most natural thing in the world. My. Mind. Was. Blown.

 

The Venue: A38

To calm down our nerves the waiting game has begun. Me and a few other people we rooted ourselves in the front line in the middle until the doors opened and the venue started to fill. Here I should say a few words about the venue. I think A38 (Artemovszk 38 to be precise, but everyone calls it A38) is one of the coolest venues in Hungary. As it is a boat. It was built in 1968 and was used to ship stone from Ukraine. By the end of the 90s’ it was out of use and was renoved starting in 2002. That’s when it got its present function: there is a restaurant, a concert room to be able to support 750 people, a bar. It had become an important part of Budapest’s cultural life. Bands really love this venue as it has modern and high quality sound technics and as I said it’s pretty unique. Pro tip: if you have motion sickness and you can have nausea easily don’t stand in the middle of the audience, especially when they are jumping. The boat rocks. Believe me, I tried.

 

Blackout Problems

So, we waited. I’m always amazed how people can get into conversations and make friends with total strangers in less than an hour. I watched people chatting away merrily around me and I stood there like, whoa, I wish I could do that. The warm up band this night was Blackout Problems. I had no idea who they were before the show – to be honest I was so focused on Poets of the Fall finally coming here that I didn’t really paid attention who the warm up band was. As I stood there during their soundcheck they sounded good. And they started up the party pretty well. They were enthusiastic, their music reminded me a bit of Blink-182 and Sum 41, when they were on top back in the 90s’/00s’ (I swear the guy on the right totally looked like someone stepping out of that era with his mustache and shirt). I’ll probably check them out, though the singer’s voice didn’t really grab me – as much as I heard it. But they deserve a chance, because they were able to win the audience over with being eager, communicative and well, playing good music. At one point the singer – wearing a leopard printed shirt – got down the stage, walked through the audience and jumped on the top of the bar at the other end of the room. Their set lasted for about 30 minutes but I think that was enough to make the audience remember them. At the end of the night they stood by the door handing out flyers and chatting with people. You can’t say they aren’t devoted.

 

Poets of the Fall

At 9 pm we finally got to the important part of the night. It was obvious from the moment they took the stage that the Hungarian audience was in an exstatic state. The show was sold out for months already – which really surprised me – and probably I wasn’t the only one who waited more than 10 years for this night to come. As they are touring with their latest album, Ultraviolet, quite a few songs got onto the setlist such as Dancing on Broken Glass, False Kings, My Dark Disquiet, The Sweet Escape and Stand Still. The latter brought one of the best moments in the night, as it was placed around halfway down the set and they played it unplugged. Goosebumps. Honestly, I was thinking that it would be awesome if they did an unplugged tour as they sound the best that way. I wouldn’t have cared if there weren’t a drum in the background at all. All through the night I was stunned by the fact that Marko absolutely sings in studio quality. Quite a few of their songs have insanely high notes and the guy sings like it’s the most natural thing in the world. There was absolutely no false notes and damn, I fell in love a bit more with his voice. I just want him to sit by me and sing to me every day until I die.

One another thing that stood out to me was that the guy is an ARTIST. You can’t help but follow him, his presence is absolute and he is that kind of singer who expresses his words/songs by gesticulating with his hands. He moves with the melody and it’s mesmerising to watch. And the chemistry works not only with the audience but with the bandmates too. They celebrated their 16th birthday in Budapest and it was great to witness how much they still enjoyed playing together. The way they laughed or pretended a mock fight with guitar and microphone. Or that instrumental part where the three guitarist played together. Did I say my mind was totally blown?

I don’t know what they expected – as I said, it was a sold out show – but it seemed like they were totally surprised by the response they’ve got from the audience. Who sang along through the whole show, cheered, danced and had a damn great time. Apart from the songs from Ultraviolet they brought some old favorites as well. Especially the second leg of the set and the bonus were really strong. We’ve got songs like War – this surprised and utterly pleased me as it’s one of my favorite songs -, Lift, Choice Millionaire, Daze and at the end of the show: Carnival of Rust. It’s an absolute favorite amongst the fans and when it came on, the room went crazy. I don’t know how they did it, but that last song turned the energy up by a notch and left everyone with a concert high. And Marko still could sing out the high notes, at the end of a 1,5 hours long show. It was just damn amazing. And now you can watch the first 3 mins of the song (I forgot the song was longer so stopped recording, lol, and besides I just wanted to rock out by the end. Also, note to self: hold the phone horizontally next time…)

Hopefully we don’t have to wait another 16 years to see them again in Hungary. Until then I bought a False Kings T-shirt, because why not? I needed a souvenir to remember this night even if it was a bit overpriced. Did I care? Absolutely fucking not. This was one of the best nights I had in a long time and it was exactly what I needed after the last few months I had. It restored my energies and whenever I’ll think back, I’ll have a huge goofy smile on my face 🙂

The setlist of the show:

  1. Dreaming Wide Awake
  2. Dancing on Broken Glass
  3. False Kings
  4. Temple of Thought
  5. Rogue
  6. Standstill
  7. The Sweet Escape
  8. My Dark Disquiet
  9. The Game
  10. Kamikaze Love
  11. War
  12. Choice Millionaire
  13. Lift

    Encore:

  14. Shadow Play
  15. Daze
  16. Locking Up the Sun
  17. Carnival of Rust

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