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Clubbing in... BUDAPEST

Reported by Craig Gunn / Submitted 28-07-04 10:31

So last weekend I went to BUDAPEST on a Stag weekend. The group of 17 lads that I went there with are not amongst the hoards of rowdy British blokes that visit this wonderful city to get drunk and cause trouble. On the contrary - we saw this as an opportunity to take in some of the country?s unique culture and especially much talked about clubbing scene. In this respect Budapest lived up to any pre-conception of Eastern European clubbing we had and more?.

Budapest is one of Europe?s fastest growing economic cities and this is reflected in its large clubbing community. Young people have some disposable income allowing them to go clubbing, which on the whole is cheap when comparatively priced to the rest of Europe. Of course, we were visiting Budapest on a stag do so generally spent huge amounts of money on drink and strip clubs. Beers priced on average at about £1.50 a pint and a Jack Daniels and Coke in a club was about £4.00. In terms of clubbing I had done some research in that department. There is PACHA, operate a franchise here, and also HOME club which is famous for its trance and techno. So on the Friday night of arrival after a number of drinks and the token strip bar for the stag we jumped in a taxi and headed for PACHA.

On arrival we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was FREE to get in. Now this was probably due to the fact it was their local residents playing as the following week Hernan Catteneo and James Zabiela were booked to play there(the cover charge for their gig was 2,500, about £8 which is still pretty reasonable). We had just missed out on the big names! Nevertheless the home-grown talent did not disappoint. Apparently, Sasha is also in Budapest at the end of the month. This, a further illustration, that Budapest's thriving club scene attracts superstar DJ?s.

The music at PACHA was a mix of deep, tribal and progressive house and breaks. There was not much in the way of vocal breaks, this gave the night a relentless thumping feel, which seemed to increase in intensity as the night wore on. Personally, I love that sound, but many of my comrades suggested it could have been funked up a little and have included a few anthems to unite the crowd, who as I discovered included not just local Hungarians but American, French and British clubbers. The venue is a nice size - approx 400 people were there on our night but I heard it could take 1000. The sound system was adequate but not amazing and there was no visual production as such - but again this could have been due to the fact it was a free night. We all had a great time there and felt satisfied we had ventured a little into Budapest's underground dance scene.

On Saturday night we had planned to go to HOME, but after calling the venue it was unfortunately closed on this night. At PACHA, we had picked up a flyer, which had attracted our attention. Milk and Sugar, who rocked the world with their Funky House anthem 'Let The Sunshine' were doing a live performance at Café Rio. So after a few drinks in the very chic bar area of Oktagon Square (much recommended) we headed down.

Café Rio is an open-air club. It consists of a partially drape covered main dance floor that has several podiums for the clubs, very sexy dancers, a small water fountain and a main stage. Around the main area there are shelters that have very comfortable seated areas and numerous bars so you never needed to queue for booze. When we arrived there, there must have been about 2000 people. The dance floor was rocking, anthems like 'Lola's Theme' and 'Da Hype' were being pounded out to a frenzied crowd and the DJ's were being given some help from a superb live percussionist who funked it up even more. It did not take our crew long to position itself close to some podium dancers and the speaker stack where we were truly in the thick of it.

The music through the night started funky then spiralled through the various genres of house taking in electro, tribal and progressive until peaking with some solid Tiesto-esque trance. So really Café Rio got the blend right - a bit of something for everybody. The local radio station Roxy were celebrating their 5th birthday there so this added to the overall excitement around the event - it soon became apparent that this is the place to go if you're in Budapest. We had such a ball of a time. The sun came up at about 5.30 and right on queue the heavens opened and it began to pour with rain, just as the last tune Delirium's 'Silence' kicks in (imagine that tracks lyrics 'I am sinking, In this silence'). As we got drenched in rain, the track gave me Goosebumps. This was truly an euphoric end to simply one of the best clubbing nights we all mutually agreed we have ever had.

After party wise we ended up in a cellar bar called The Piaf, which bordered on the eccentric, with a blend of cheese and classic songs from Chris De Burgh 'Lady in Red' to 'Pump up The Volume' - weird to say the least. Then we heard PACHA Bar did and all-dayer - so again hopped into a taxi and headed down. In the same vein as the 414 or the George VI the people clubbing there were a mix of Hungarian mafia and remnants of people that had obviously been having it large for two days. So we fitted in perfectly.

The weekend was a triumphant success all in all. Other highlights non-club related include going to a traditional Hungarian Spa, which turned out to be primarily for Gay men and also covering the Stag in toilet paper and sticking him in the shower. Musically however, the deep and funky tribal sound of Budapest is something we will be bringing to our 1st October SUBSONICA at the Rhythm Factory - with myself and Prozak also going back to Budapest to play in their clubs later in the year. I hope this review has given you a wee taster - and if your serious about your clubbing then you should SERIOUSLY check out Budapest the Eastern European city that never sleeps??

Written by Craig Gunn. Additional pictures supplied by Erik

Craig Gunn and Prozak play at Subsonica on Friday 1st October at The Rhythm Factory - for full details Click here
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Other Features By Craig Gunn:
Glastonbury, The Biggest Show on Earth
I survived Glastonbury 2015
HarderFaster Guide to Glastonbury 2015
The Speed of Sound
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.

From: Craig Paxton on 28th Jul 2004 12:12.01
Sounds interesting. I may have to stop there on my travels some time soon.. Thumbs up

From: Jana on 28th Jul 2004 13:51.27
Definately Budapest in one of the top clubbing destinations just as good as Prague or Vienna. Well done, good write up.

From: Tom Allen on 28th Jul 2004 13:52.14
And for some excellent, uh, non-clubbing entertainment, try Goldfingers in the main square Wink

From: Cerberus on 28th Jul 2004 14:37.44
many thanks for your comment, the stag by the way is the happy looking Asian one!!!

From: K8-e on 28th Jul 2004 19:11.39
Beautiful city. I won a competition to meet Oaky there and watch him play in Pacha. Absolutely amazing when its filled to capacity and you are standing on the stage watching 1000+ mental clubbers screaming at Oaky. I'd love to go back. Great article. Thumbs up

From: Syfoon on 28th Jul 2004 23:27.42
Wicked read while noshing on a Pot Noodle on a Wednesday night Thumbs up

The last picture is classic!

From: Prozak on 28th Jul 2004 23:53.24

From: Tin Tin on 29th Jul 2004 07:26.18
A very interestiong article, it sounds wicked over there, definitely somewhere i'd like to check out! Thumbs up

From: Cerberus on 29th Jul 2004 09:59.27
thanks again all - thats it I reckon HF tour of the EASTERN Block next year....Prozak another lap dancing club me old son?

From: Adam Symbiosis on 29th Jul 2004 13:33.16
Nice feature. Soundslike you guys had a ball. See you on Saturday anyway Thumbs up

From: Prozak on 29th Jul 2004 22:01.33
ai ai capt'n, this time we get better info on da pacha! Do you have it? Craig do you have da PACHA!!! ?

From: HouseGuy on 29th Jul 2004 22:28.05
Been to Budapest before, but never visited these places... can't wait till I am next in Budapest, definately pop in to see the Home! Nice article, great read.

From: Prozak on 30th Jul 2004 09:18.48

From: clubchick on 30th Jul 2004 13:09.32
Well done Craig, great review!

From: benz on 30th Jul 2004 15:27.10
Smile cool write-up!

My parents are both from Budapest and i fucking love it. Been there loads of times, and in fact i am going there on wednesday for a week for Europe's largest music festival - The Pepsi Sziget festival ( I've been the past 2 years in a row and got to DJ out there thanks to my sister. it's an ubelievable festival, just so much going on all the time. this year - Faithless, Basement Jaxx, Scissor Sisters, Josh Wink, Oaky, Jeff Mills, Felix da Housecat, Adam F, Grooverider, Busta rhymes, Adam F, etc......

highly recommended by me for anyone. if anyone needs any tips of where to stay/go etc feel free to PM me!

From: Cerberus on 30th Jul 2004 15:35.24
again thanks one and all.....I guess I'll have write a Godskitchen review now after I get mangled there too.....

From: Prozak on 30th Jul 2004 19:10.34
and me toooooooo Wink

From: Prozak on 24th Feb 2011 11:07.53
damm, nearly 7 years ago!Razz

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