Apparently, the first May weekend is the ideal weekend to make festivals in Austria. Because suddenly, there was stuff happening everywhere. There was the 10th birthday party of the Museumsquartier with live acts, workshops and general action. There was the popfest, a free festival with and for Austrian music. And there was also the Seaside Festival at the Surf Worldcup in Podersdorf. And honestly, I’m not at all interested in surfing – but the bands playing there? Awesome.
But that also meant that I felt like I had to clone myself at least twice to see everything I wanted to see. And since my home cloning kit is kinda old and the regulations nowadays are quite a bitch, I decided that I would have to make do without some of the stuff I wanted to see and prove my mastery of time management.
So, on Thursday I started with the program in the MQ: Kons Goes Public. The Konservatorium Vienna, a private music, dance, acting, performance school, put together a program to showcase their talents. When I arrived, they were in the middle of “Pop, Rock and Musical” where singers performed various songs from various genres.
The song selection was interesting – from Elton John to chansons – but would have worked a little better if it wasn’t so damn obvious that they were chosen to highlight the awesomeness of talent the Konservatorium has to offer. In every song they crammed as much frills and vocal aerobatics as they could.
Add to that that you could all but see their teachers standing just behind them, instructing them, “I want more rawness. Give me more emotion! Make the audience feel your pain! Watch your diction! WHERE’S THE RAWNESS?!?!!eleventy!1!” and the performances were not exactly bad or without talent, but pretty much unbearable.
After the singing, I was joined by teashoe and aber_karramba and there was what I actually came for (because it sounded interesting): a dance perfomance to the Austrian premiere of Markus Stockhausen‘s suite Tanzendes Licht. For that, the Konservatorium’s Jazz and Classic Orchestras came together under the direction of Markus Stockhausen himself while the dance company, well, danced.
The music was, for the most part, really nice. Made me curious to listen to more of Stockhausen’s stuff. The choreography – by Darrel Toulon – on the other was not so much my cup of tea. There were so many dancers and so much going on that you didn’t really know where to look. Even though it didn’t matter much because most elements of the choreography kept repeating.
There were some really nice moments to it, but altogether I was pretty happy that it didn’t take longer than 30 minutes or so.
Afterwards, we decided to head over to the popfest, where * was with a few friends. We had missed Skero [German], but we half-heard the ending of Gustav [German]. Actually, we were sitting a way off and talked, so it was more quarter-hearing and no listening. But that way, it was really nice. :)
On Friday, we started again at the Museumsquartier, this time with a concert by Russkaja [German]. And it was absolutely brilliant. They have an amazing energy on stage and their music just makes it impossible for you to stand still. It’s only when they started to create their circle pit (PSYCHOTRAKTOR) that I had to step aside. I just don’t like any kind of pits.
I thought that there were surprisingly few people there, but the atmosphere was good. the concert for such a festival rather long (90 minutes or so) and I very much regretted when they finished playing and made room for Stermann & Grissemann (a comedy duo) [German] and not only because I seriously don’t like them.
Fortunately for me, teashoe and aber_karramba aren’t the greatest fans of Stermann & Grissemann either, so we decided to get a cup of coffee while they were on. When we returned, Kraak & Smaak were playing. We listened for a couple of minutes and decided that they were not for us – there was just nothing that caught my attention. Which meant that we headed to the popfest instead.
Violetta Parisini [German] was playing there: a singer-songwriter from Vienna. We were arriving just towards the end of her show and the end of the part she sang together with Coshiva [German]. I have to say that, together with Coshiva, her music seemed more meh to me, but when she continued to play on her own and with producer Florian Cojocaru, I really liked her: good energy, presence on stage and very nice songs.
The next band playing was Café Olga Sánchez. When they started preparing and brought all the various intstruments on stage, I though, “This is going to be either interesting or awful!” They had the standard drum, guitar and bass, then bongos, and accordion, a violin and a saxophone which is a pretty cool mix of instruments.
Unfortunately, the rest of the show couldn’t keep up with the excitement the instruments generated. It was all rather… flabby. There was no real show, the music just kinda washed over you and after about 15 minutes of this, we decided to call it a day.
On Saturday, we drove out to Lake Neusiedl where Surf Worldcup was happening. As I said before, I’m really not interested in surfing and neither were aber_karramba and teashoe, so we only showed up for the party program in the evening. Which promised to be excellent with concerts by Texta and Bauchklang.
But first, we had to find our way around the festival area – which proved to be more difficult than we thought: there were about 5 billion tents, but nowhere any information, no plan and nobody we asked knew anything either. When and where would the bands be playing? A mystery. Finally we decided to give up and get something to drink and then wander the endless tents until we heard the sounds of Bauchklang.
Fortunately for us, I had the brilliant idea to ask at the bar where we bought our drinks if they had a program. And lo and behold, they did – even though, the barkeeper told me, I was supposed to tell know one because they hardly had any left.
Anyway, we knew where we had to be, so we got the greasiest sausages we could find for dinner and then walked around for a bit, just taking it all in.
The first band of the evening we saw was Millions of Dreads, an Austrian Reggae band. Reggae isn’t really my thing but for about 10 minutes or so, Millions of Dreads were quite entertaining.
They played longer than they were supposed to, which I would have found nice had I enjoyed their show more and hadn’t I been waiting for Bauchklang to start. But finally Bauchklang came on stage. And let me tell you, the soundcheck alone was already worth it – almost.
Bauchklang really are one of my most favoritest live bands ever. I think it’s the fourth or even fifth time I saw them live and it’s always brilliant. They start to sing, I start to dance and when they stop, I’m disappointed, no matter how long it was. Their energy is astounding, their music is great and to top it all off, they seem really nice.
Interestingly enough their music becomes more and more “electronic” sounding – even though they remain firmly a cappella. It’s amazing.
After Bauchklang, came Texta. And Texta are great and their show was great, but from their music alone it was impossible to keep up the tension that Bauchklang created before them. That way, their show was bound to feel a little slack.
Despite the organiser’s lack of judgment when it comes to pacing their shows, I enjoyed myself during the Texta concert. And when they played Hediwari, there was a lot of dancing.
After the concerts, there were DJs and dancing and general partying until we dropped.
The next morning I had to get up early which kinda sucked. Not only because it was a Sunday and I was out the night before and getting up early is generally not my favorite pasttime. But in this case it also meant that by Sunday afternoon I was pretty much dead on my feet and had to skip another visit to the popfest… Then again, there was much music during the weekend already, so that’s kinda alright.
Hopefully next year there won’t be five things at the same time.