When I travelled to Eastern Europe last summer, the Drum and Bass scene in the UK was on the rise. The D ‘n’ B nights at home were often set in dingy, sweaty clubs full of some very interesting characters (who may or may not have been completely ‘with it’), so it was a pleasant surprise to experience this new culture in another part of Europe.
Whereas at home the clubs were well advertised with gaudy signage luring you in, the club I visited in Budapest was extremely inconspicuous; a narrow door that led straight from the pavement with no apparent name. Inside, the three flights of semi-lit concrete steps leading to the club were covered with graffiti. The well decorated terrace that greeted us at the top was unexpected, with tables dotted around and a well-stocked, cheap bar. After buying a drink upstairs, we headed down into the basement which is where the magic happened.
We had arrived early, so initially the club was pretty empty and we managed to get a table (at home, tables would not have been welcome – everyone on their feet please!) Soon, the music started and the place began to fill out with all kinds of people; couples, groups of young people, even groups of middle-aged people, a world away from the nights at home. Although dark, the basement was big and there was plenty of room to dance, drink and chat without being bustled around by over-eager boppers. The music was similar to at home (Drum and Bass apparently doesn’t offer that much variation), but the atmosphere was completely different. If it got too loud in the basement or you simply wanted a chat and to relax, you could head back up to the terrace to pinch a bit of peace. It was nice to have the option to flit between the two, something that doesn’t seem to be on offer in the clubs at home.
After my fair share of visits to Drum and Bass nights at home where, to be honest, I was always slightly disappointed, it was a nice change to see how another culture celebrates this up and coming trend. Even if you’re not partial to the music, the atmosphere made up for it (as well, of course, as the cheap price of the drinks!)