Müpa Budapest offered a wonderful programme for music-lovers who were looking for something different yet a live concert, as Magashegyi Underground played an almost 2-hour-long show with special guests and a symphonic orchestra on February 21.
Even though, I am a relatively newcomer to the band, luckily, I had the pleasure of attending two of their gigs last year and they undoubtedly made sure the audience had a great time at both occasions. Thus, when I first saw the event advertised, I instantly knew I had to be there. However, I had to bear in mind that this gig will be nothing like the EFOTT or SZIGET shows, for this very time Bíborka Bocskor (lead singer) and the lads were preparing to play at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall of Müpa (Palace of Arts) with special guests.
The location itself was promising and grounded the atmosphere, for the whole building is an especially beautiful piece of architecture and already upon entering, the guests, well, I certainly, can feel like getting away a bit from their everyday lives and allowing culture to amaze them. And mind you, this feeling is not just a one-time-only thing, it was my third cultural event at Müpa and the delight evoked by the setting was nothing less. Notably, it is also quite easy to access, as it is situated in Budapest’s District IX (Komor Marcell street 1., 1095) and public transportation offers numerous options (tram 2; buses 23, 54, 55 from Boráros square), but the parking lot seems convenient too.
When we (my brother and I, for it was his Christmas gift from me) took our seats on the third floor balcony, which place unfortunately sometimes felt a bit too far from the stage, we could see that a great many people of different age, sex, and style were willing to spend their Tuesday night with live music. Not that we were really surprised, cause the show went sold out rather quickly but it was good to see that there is indeed a need for such programmes. Besides, the stage was just as crowded and as the concert finally began showed that it was full of talented musicians who presumably devoted a lot of time and energy to provide something special for the audience.
Luckily there were no flaws regarding the audio, the great quality was ensured and the members of Magashegyi Underground (Bíborka Bocskor – lead singer, Gábor Fűrész – bass, Mátyás Szepesi – guitar, Miklós Toldi – drum) played in complete harmony with the Dohnány Orchestra Budafok, the Talamba Percussion Group, and the Discantus Vocal Ensamble. They were on stage with the band throughout the whole show, thus creating a unique carnival of sounds, supporting Bíborka’s one-of-a-kind voice, which was accompanied by the changing, thematically fitting and absolutely fascinating lights.
Zoltán Beck off of 30Y (another Hungarian band), however, did not share the stage with the rest for the two hours but was present only in a section devoted for the duets (Látod, Tegnapután, Árnyékok) he sings with Bíborka. He has also co-worked on Magashegyi songs previously as a songwriter and it was really special to see them perform together, for it does not happen very often and their united voices sounded beautifully and completed each other. To be fair, he clearly brought the party to the house, as it quite lacked interaction between the musicians and the audience until he came along and even shared an anecdote between two songs (which is a rather common, though, not always present, element of the 30Y concerts).
Beck also mentioned that he really knows what it feels like to be at Müpa both as an artist and as an audience member, how different such a concert experience is compared to a club, festival or any other outside venue gig. The particular setting also resulted in requirements, that is, as he too put it, we were all dressed up pretty and well-behaved, sitting in our seats, and no one was dancing around nor shouting all the words of the songs loudly. But there was a nice, sort-of unexpected time during Árnyékok when Bíborka ran around the audience of the ground floor heightening the mood and before the tune went off, they encouraged us all for a brief singing along.
The setlist was put together nicely and included songs from all three of their albums (Ezer Erdő, Tegnapután, Talált Tenger), giving a frame to the whole night, as the switches between the rather melodious, lyrical songs and the more energetic ones were carried out well. Admittedly though I really missed Ellenfény from the set, for it would have perfectly fit the orchestra, the occasion, and the whole atmosphere in my opinion. Perhaps, it might have had a too heart-breaking sound in this setting. Yet, not even the melodies took us to too deep places and I, for one, could manage to listen to and watch the gig with a smile on my face.
Apparently, the spectators genuinely seemed to enjoy the show, which was rather proved at the end when the ovation simply did not want to stop so the band came back for an encore playing three songs, allowing us to hold on to the magic a bit more. But what happened after that was proper incredible: the audience went on clapping so keenly and everlastingly that the musicians could not help but get back on the stage again for an extra encore, this time inviting Mr. Beck to join them again as well for a last round on Árnyékok. This ultimately gave the impression of playing-music-out-of-happiness. No one wanted to end the night.
Should you feel interested in either a gig of Magashegyi Underground or an event in Müpa, make sure to check the following sites: magashegyi.com or mupa.hu