#girlpower and genre-tornado in the underground music scene of Budapest
On January 6th of this very year, the 3rd edition of Beats Before Midnight took place in Budapest, in the underground cultural space of literary café, Három Holló/Drei Raben (Three Ravens). I was invited to this event by singer-songwriter Puzzls, founder and editor-in-chief of this website, who was also one of the performers of the night for the third consecutive time. Personally, I was so glad I could finally attend this event (even though going alone to any kind of event scares the living hell out of my introverted self), as I’ve been following it with one eye ever since it came around. Beats Before Midnight is basically a series of small concerts held one after another, as the names gives it away – occurring right before midnight, celebrating, and giving space to small, independent, aspiring artists to show and share their talent with music enthusiasts who are open to hear and enjoy various mixes of music genres. The initiative sprung out of the mind of Girl in the mirror, who was also the bubbly, cheerful and devoted host of the night, the heart and soul of the party. It was clear to see how much work and thought was put into the event not only by her, but all the other artists and the staff helping around as well.
I arrived at the location a little bit before the concerts started, so I had a chance to peek into the soundcheck and to see for myself a handful of the artists who were about to perform. On this occasion, the performers consisted only of female singers, and it really felt like a celebration of #girlpower and the uniqueness of women in the smaller parts of the music industry. All the lovely ladies who came up on the stage had their own charm, charisma, style of music and fashion sense. It felt empowering watching them perform with so much confidence; these ladies belong to the surface as well as the indie underground!
The first ones on the stage were Girl in the mirror herself, in co-production with SARSHA, the latter performing a self-made dance choreography and shining brightly while doing so. Her solid fanbase – a very excited, supportive girl community – could enjoy her singing too later on, which felt like a sacred initiation rite with soft undertones and mysterious vibes. You couldn’t even tell this was her first-ever performance, as so much confidence would radiate from her. Because of a technical bug during her concert, the Beats Before Midnight team gave her another chance to perform, this time without any interruptions, which was a heartwarming act to witness.
The next girl on the stage was ANAM ARIA, performing her song called ‘4REAL’. As a self-proclaimed, contemporary R&B songwriter, she was channeling her inner Barbie on the stage, with a stunning pink outfit from head to toe, giving strong independent femme energies through her song and her appearance as well.
Funny and being unapologetically herself would be the best words to describe the third performer of the night, ROSE MAY. Her boldness shone through as she wrote not one, not two, but three (!) of her songs on that very same day, just before the concert. Had she not told us this information, I doubt anybody would’ve noticed as they all sounded just as professional as all her other songs, giving off dreamy vibes with bits of longing. She was also rapping in her song called ‘Oxytocin’ and the whole performance was nothing less than wholesome.
With songs in various genres under her belt, the next performance of the night was none other than Puzzls, with a very enthusiastic audience who was dancing along and enjoying the ride through the wave of emotions provided. Sometimes it felt like being at a punk-rock concert, other times you could imagine yourself laying on your bedroom floor, listening to calm and soothing sounds, forgetting any concerns occurring in your life. I always felt like the songs of Puzzls could be part of any soundtrack of a featurette or a coming of age movie. She was also kind to perform a few songs not yet released to the public, one of which is inspired by the series ’How I Met Your Mother’. She really had her own way of handling the crowd, reaching out and talking to them constantly. And without being too biased, I must also add that hearing her songs live was a blast for me; her professionalism was indisputable.
Closing the event but continuing with the tradition of anime-like and electropop vibes, kkoneko was another face of the night’s musical palette. While unfortunately I couldn’t stay until the end of her concert, those few songs I was able to catch before leaving gave off the sensation of an adventurous night spent in the city, storming through it, while blasting music on the speakers of your car. The projected background of her performance was quite melancholic with various anime scenes showing the quiet, grey everyday life of people. With angel wings on her back and a matching angelic voice, she made me feel like I’m hearing Grimes at a rock concert, and even brought back memories of when I was watching the anime called ‘Nana’ a few years prior. It’s safe to say she gave a performance one could easily lose themselves in, in the most positive sense of the word.
To sum up this whole musical experience, Beats Before Midnight was a very inclusive environment, an enjoyable and safe event with talented and dedicated individuals who were not afraid to show parts of their personality, feelings, and to put themselves out there and shine before a crowd of friends, as well as strangers. Relatable and hard-working, it’s worth keeping an eye on all these talented performers who all have a chance of getting bigger in the near future. One more thing I can say is that I’m rooting for all of them and wishing for luck and prosperity in the journey of their music career.