The Soft Moon at A38, Budapest, 2/10/15

This is a bit of a one off, but as I was on holiday I couldn’t help but pass up on the opportunity of reviewing what is a sterling live act play in a venue with genuine credentials of being one of the best I’ve visited.

Having only arrived in Budapest an hour or so before we venture down to the venue, via some rather majestic views across the Danube, understandably food was high on the agenda, however we find that the venue’s restaurant area, which by many accounts is very good, has been hired out for a function so we have to resort to the relatively disappointing sandwiches they have on offer behind the bar.

 

The venue itself is housed within a repurposed Ukrainian cargo ship on the Buda side of the river and allows a beautiful panorama of south Pest from the deck with views of the rather spectacular National Theatre amongst other things.

When you consider a venue on a boat you may immediately think novelty, Glasgow’s own Ferry does little more than host tribute acts these days, and boats aren’t traditionally build for sound.

A38 was not originally built for this either, but its hull has been masterfully set up to produce a true industrial feel and a rather immaculate sound.

The Soft Moon are currently on a full European tour and will visit Broadcast, a venue easily a third of the size of this, in Glasgow later this month.

Tonight their sound slots into the whole vibe of the venue to perfection, their darkwave and krautrock touching EDM produces an awe inspiring wall of sound in the industrial feeling venue.

New wave tinged beats and rhythms come over sneered, high-pitched vocals from the band’s main man Luis Vasquez and engross the hefty crowd with their sheer power, as the band appear mainly in silhouette behind a powerful strobe show that only enhances the experience.

It may be noted the crowd do come across as fairly static, and there’s a few more winching couples (worst gig behaviour) than you’d generally see at a gig like this back home, but there’s certainly none of that “here we fucking go” nonsense that Scottish crowd like to embarrass themselves with; not to diss a Scottish crowd, when they’re at their best they’re the best.

Tonight the static crowd is a statement, one that shows the band’s talent of masterfully conducting a sound that simply immerses everyone and leaves them hooked on every note.

Not many words are uttered from either side of the stage, potentially down to a language barrier, but they don’t need to be as the band has total control.

Not bad for a first night in Budapest; if you ever go do try to catch a show in A38’s dingy, industrial glory and The Soft Moon at Broadcast on October 22nd, fire that in your diary too.

Words: Iain Dawson

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