We interrupt our regular festival season to bring you this important newsflash—Electronic Beats Festival is coming out of the concert halls and into the clubs and special locations all across town!
Beginning in September, we’re bringing the new Electronic Beats City Festival to four different cities—Podgorica, Bucharest, Budapest and Zagreb—each offering 48 hours of a multi-venue, multi-genre experiences comprised of artists and DJs from around the world. Dates are listed below, and ticket information, locations and lineups will be announced shortly; stay tuned!
04-05 September: Podgorica, Montenegro
02-03 October: Bucharest, Romania
16-17 October: Budapest, Hungary
06-07 November: Zagreb, Croatia
For a look back at our Spring festivals, cruise on over here.
After a rollicking good time in Podgorica, Electronic Beats’ festival season kicked on to Budapest with James Blake, James Holden, Zoot Woman, and Joy Wellboy in tow. All photos by Balázs Mohai.
Electronic Beats capped a busy and politically-charged week in Budapest last night with a crowded bash at the Millenáris Teátrum. Doors opened at 8, just hours after thousands gathered near the Erzsébet Tér to protest the policies of prime minister Viktor Orbán, particularly the proposed internet tax that he delayed in response to the public demonstrations that took place throughout the week. But at the Electronic Beats festival, locals could leave their governmental woes behind and lose themselves in a series of absorbing performances by recent SLICES stars Joy Wellboy, triumphant comeback duo Zoot Woman, emotive post-(post-post-)dubstep icon James Blake, and hypnotic hardware wizard James Holden.
Joy Wellboy opened the night with an energetic stream of tracks plucked from their recent album on BPitch Control, including “Birds” and “Lay Down Your Blade.” Frontwoman Joy Adegoke, decked out in a phantasmagoric splash of technicolor makeup, writhed and thrashed through a melange of electronic-tinged indie pop. Joy’s energy had a visible effect on the growing crowd, and by the duo’s closing track, hands were in the air.
While Joy Wellboy’s approach favored instant gratification—”At a venue like this, when you only have half an hour to play, you don’t have time to build up,” frontman Wim Janssens told us backstage—Zoot Woman’s appearance was a slow-burner. The energy remained static until the last few tracks, during which the pair constructed a massive build-up that cascaded into rhythmic synth blasts.
Zoot Woman tearing stuff up on stage at #electronicbeats festival #Budapest! A video posted by Electronic Beats Magazine (@electronicbeats) on Oct 10, 2014 at 3:03pm PDT
The floor was packed by the time James Blake took up his post on stage right. His set included a surprising number of throwback jams from his debut album, including “I Never Learnt To Share,” “Limit To Your Love,” and “Wilhelm Scream.” He spliced in a few hits from his sophomore LP (“Retrograde,” “Life Round Here”) and unreleased material that, he explained to the audience, had never been revealed before (or at least not in Budapest). The songwriter and his band have streamlined some of the tricks that made his James Blake-era gigs so remarkable, like his pregnant use of silence that’s punctuated by admirers calling his name, and his penchant for recording the crowd’s cheers in the loops he uses to construct songs. His bandmates quietly left during “Wilhelm Scream,” leaving Blake alone to close out with an a cappella version of “Measurements” that sounded like a gospel of one.
James Holden’s closing set was a fitting finale, because he created a trancelike atmosphere that was underpinned by a driving momentum rather than bleary-eyed stupor. Before he took the stage, we sat down with Holden for a quick chat about his tour schedule and his collaboration with Ableton—stay tuned to hear more about that. As for his set, Holden favored busy and emotive melodies, his last two tracks emphasized heads-down functionality and power. When he abandoned his post, the concertgoers stood in place for about 10 minutes, calling his name and begging for an encore that never came.
Electronic Beats’ Fall season has already hit Podgorica and Vienna with some precocious talents, and our Halloween blowout in Budapest is set to raise the bar once again. James Blake, James Holden Joy Wellboy, and Zoot Woman have already sold out the Millenáris Teátrum, but we’re offering a few more tickets in a last minute giveaway—all you have to do is enter your information in the form at the bottom of this post to score a trip to the Hungarian capital. In addition to an amazing night with Electronic Beats, the lucky winners will have the opportunity to explore the city’s bustling nightlife culture. According to our correspondents at the NVC, Budapest is brimming with creative talent. In fact, there’s so much to do over there that we wouldn’t know where to begin, so we asked them to compile for us a guide to the 10 best bars and clubs on both sides of the Danube.
Send in your submissions for free tickets by Tuesday at 4 PM CET.
Every music lover in Hungary has a special place for A38 Hajó in her heart. The venue is, and has been for 10 years, the single most important venue in Budapest. It’s unique because it’s a ship floating on the Danube—hence the word “Hajó” in the name, which means “ship” in Hungarian—and because of its lavish decor and a state-of-the-art sound system. There’s a restaurant on the first floor, a dance floor on the roof, a small bar out back, and a new second boat that’s attached to the primary one, but it’s most famous for the treasure hidden in the belly of the barge: a prestigious, 700-capacity concert hall.
Millenáris Teátrum is located in Millenaris Park, which sits on the Buda side of the city, where there are lots of old warehouses and factories. This particular space contains exhibition areas, film and TV studios, and event halls, and it has a special place in our hearts because it has hosted the Electronic Beats Festivals for four years now. Its perfect acoustics make it a remarkable venue for concert, yet, because of its size and strict regulations, it’s only active a few times a year. That’s why Budapest’s musical savants know that any event in Millenáris must be something special.
Budapest’s underground citadel, Corvintető, opens for electronic music heads from Wednesday to Saturday. However, it’s underground in name only, as the club sits atop the city’s oldest department store. Many of Budapest’s most prolific parties happen here, like DJ Palotai’s 15-year-old Rewind bass music night and the techno bash Casino Bangkok. Visitors should make sure to stop by, if only for the amazing view from the top bar.
The Erzsébet Tér (or “Elizabeth Square” in English) is a park near the heart of the city and the old Jewish district, which is pretty much the headquarters for Budapest’s underground culture. In this case, we do mean that it’s literally under the ground, as Club Akvárium was built below the park over a decade ago. Earlier this year, the club and the square were renovated, and now the venue has three stages, an amazing new sound system, a restaurant, a café, and a pub.
You’ll find this recently remodeled space in the heart of the city, just outside of the bustling 7th District, in the foyer of one of the most revered cinema halls. Toldi is the hive of Hungary’s thriving underground electronic music scene, and it supports local crews like Farbwechsel, Bounce, Küss Mich, and Nightdrive. Even the strip of pavement in front of the venue has played a tremendously important role in shaping Budapest’s culture, as it’s a meeting place for creative minds.
Lärm is the Hungarian capital’s newest venue, but it’s already a respected underground silo. A lot of care was put into the minimal design and the sound system; there are only a few lights, a DJ booth, speakers, black walls, and a smoke machine. It’s an exciting playground for the bigger crews to experiment with niche parties as well as a great way for the smaller promoters to reach wider audiences.
During the day, this cozy little bar in downtown Budapest is an open office space, but at night it becomes a watering hole. Young creative types are drawn to Központ (which means “center”), so, naturally, it has inspired many movies, music videos, and bands. Although it’s a relatively small bar, Központ still provides a wide array of musical selections, which range from live jazz concerts to psychedelic jam sessions and DJs who play hip-hop, house, techno, or indie rock.
Telep began as a gallery, a shelter for the local art scene. Its crowded bar is open to the street and provides a window on the city’s latest styles. Telep’s diverse program, which includes workshops, screenings, and gigs, draws a community of photographers, longboarders, bikers, and designers. Casual visitors can drop by for a cool drink, a bite in the bistro, and some world-class people-watching. Telep also houses Hungarian designer label Ykra and a graffiti shop called Shoppp.
Beat On The Brat
Chaotic disorder meets extreme tranquility at this bar, which is located under a parking garage. Beat On The Brat is geared toward fans of garage rock, alt-pop, post-punk, noise, and synth pop, but it’s totally unpredictable—you might end up having an interesting discussion with some friends, or find yourself at a hardcore alt-rock disaster.
Equal parts restaurant, bar, and club, Kolor’s main aim is to provide Budapest its first club where one can show up on any given night and dance to quality electronic music, for free. It also hosts the longest-running weekly hip-hop club night in Budapest, Monday Session.
As you know, the globetrotting EB Festival hits Budapest on October 31st with James Blake, Zoot Woman, and Joy Wellboy in tow, but you didn’t know that we had another ace up our sleeve: the prodigious James Holden. The UK producer made a name for himself at the turn of the century, when he was just 19 years old, with a surprise hit titled “Horizons.” Since then, he has earned international acclaim with a string of impeccable releases, including two albums on his own Border Community imprint. To get a sense of his ethereal and detailed take on club music, feat your ears on the goodies below.
As you may remember, tickets for the festival are on sale now at electronicbeats.net, Ticketportal, the Ticketportal offices, and at Központ. (5 Madach Imre str., 1075 Budapest). You can also grab some via the Ntry form embedded on the left. And, of course, if you’re chatting it up about the festival via social media, don’t forget to hashtag #ElectronicBeats.
Mmm—smell that air? The winds of change are coming, and so is EB Festival! We’re polishing our passports as we head off to beautiful Budapest once more—check out who we’re bringing with us on October 31st.
James Blake, we’re sure, needs no introduction. Not only has the London lad made some very memorable EB Festival appearances in the past, but his emotion-rich, emminently danceable and occasionally surprisingly heavy compositions have ensured that his profile continues to grow among discerning pop and bass music fans. With a new album halfway completed and scheduled for release next year, collaborations with Kanye West and Justin Vernon in the pipeline, and a buzz already gathering around his new track “200 Press”, you can be sure James will be at the peak of his powers.
Another London act, Zoot Woman became renowned as one of the forerunners of the mostly gone (but not forgotten) genre electroclash. These days, Adam and Johnny Blake and Stuart Price are crafting electro-heavy pop with a stylishly dark edge and a dance-ready beat that’s set to redefine matters all over again. With their new self-titled LP burning up discotheques across the world, one thing’s for certain: when Zoot Woman hit the stage, you’ll hit the floor.
Joy Wellboy‘s wild-eyed electro-pop made waves last year with their BPitch Control debut Yorokobi’s Mantra. This year, the Brussels-based duo are back with new EP Before The Sunrise, a joyfully weird celebration of life, love and everything in between. Live, the pair switch from electronics to acoustics to old instruments found in flea markets—anything to convey their message. “We want our music to move people, in every sense of the word”, say the duo. We’re looking forward to moving with you!
Update: UK experimentalist James Holden will join the festivities. Read all about the latest addition to the lineup over here.
If you’re chatting it up about the festival via social media, hashtag #ElectronicBeats.