Walking towards the hole surrounded by the smells of mulled wine emanating from Gőzölgő Fesztivál we had to surmise that nothing much changed outside. A couple of benches to drink beer at and some sheets with programs made their way to the terrace. The three heating mushrooms at the entrance were providing comfort for the pack of smokers hiding in their garbs. As we got inside the security people went out of their way to disarm our purses with a metal detector and a flashlight. They weren’t at all arrogant, which is definitely rare in their line of work.
At the site of the former small stage we could find a relatively unused furnished area with kissing couples and middle-aged people reading Pesti Est. Also, it was the place to look for the ticket counter and the cloakroom. At last an office to find (hopefully relevant) information at! The cloakroom fee was 200 HUF, in exchange for which we even got our coats back after the party.
A little further in front of it was the toilet-complex. Gödör-flashback struck us as we entered. It remained the same, only the entrance was moved to the other side. There was toilet paper and cleanness but the nice old lady with UV nail polish was nowhere to be found.
Where once the ad hoc cloakroom was, now there was a small stage and a small counter where two DJs played warm-up Balkan-rock for the 15 guests gathering there. Further on, amongst the white IKEA-feeling artificial leather sofas we were greeted by security people once again: wristband-checkpoint. Having passed the checkpoint, we could enter the new concert area, that had been created at the site of the former backstage. It was like a strange little hole, but a few days prior to our visit, Murak (Péter Muraközy, the new program director of Akvárium - the editor) had told us that it’s a temporary solution just like the 80% of the current fittings. The big concert hall will occupy one of the rooms in the back in a few months’ time. The current one wasn’t meant to be a main stage. And it’s not, so we went on to check out the pub.
We were in a festival mood pretty soon, which was not due to our elevated feelings but the temporary solutions: mobile counter, plastic cups, etc. The bartenders are young, kind and helpful girls and boys. The positive emotions got even more intense when we took a look at the prices. A mug of beer is between 440 and 650 HUF, 0,5 liter of mineral water is 260 HUF and a bottle of Gere Pinot Noir is 2950 HUF. The list of pálinkas was not such a pleasure to see, though, as ¾ of the selection is provided by Rézangyal and apart from that only one type of Békési and some Márton pálinkas were included.
Meanwhile the concert was underway. The people were soon drifting towards area in front of the stage. We could see the Akvárium-logo at the two sides of the stage in two colors, moving away and back, fading in and out. This simple effect could have been replaced with an enthusiastic young VJ for a relatively small amount of money. The stage seemed a little low but as it’s not planned to be the big stage, it will do.
The concert was professional with all its positive and negative features. The lead singer was a bit bored but where the songs were such, he did jump one or two, guitar in hand. What surprised us was a break midway through the concert. What a clever idea! Although there’s nothing worse than a break during a theatrical performance, it was quite alright here: A solution rather beneficial to boost business at the counter and help survive the smoke-free time before. Will every band at Akvárium have a break like this? There’s no knowing of this, but we recommend it.
We realized we were having fun in a reserved way. No smoking, no littering, no shouting and only a moderate sing-along with the lead singer during Rotfront’s brutal party song, Sigaretta: “sigaretta you make me feel much better, you make me feel soo good”. I get it! No smoking, showing our wristbands and purses to the security politely, no trampling on the white sofas, no breaking of glasses…well they’re plastic cups, but you get the general idea. What could this be? Euro trend entertainment complex or bleached Balkans? We didn’t stay for the end of the concert. The smoky, dark places in the neighborhood were more temping. But nevertheless: go, Akvárium! Be perfect, offer quality because your existence is in the interest of all! Your are Deák tér, Erzsébet tér, Gödör, Akvárium, the lake, the park, sunbathing in the city and drinking wine outdoors. This was our first impression of the club. If you feel resentment or if you don’t, go and see it for yourselves, party, drink, make friends and let us know your opinions.