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Handpicks of the fortnight

German-Cuban minimal techno party. Tobias Lützenkirchen, A38 concert ship, Jan 24

Van Der Graaf Generator (UK):
The late 60’s was the great era of progressive rock, spawning institutions like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis. Van Der Graaf was as good as these other bands but made less of a splash. Peter Hammill ( guitar, vocals), Hugh Banton (organ) and Guy Evans (drums) didn’t force things or indulge in visual elements and they were darker, more dramatic and more personal. But they still recorded such milestone albums as The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other, H to He, Who Am The Only One and Pawn Hearts. They had a break from 1971 to 1975, then released five albums in three years. In the 80s and 90s, they played only occasional concerts together, but in 2003, Peter Hammill, who had released several dozen solo discs, invited all his “Generator colleagues” onto the stage for a single song. This led to a series of joint recordings and concerts. Their latest material Trisector (2008) following Present (2005) is regarded by fans as some of the best music Van Der Graaf has ever made. It reflects the band’s forty year past and is unified, balanced and spine-tinglingly taut. This is a real treat for progressive rock fans: the “Gods of the Generators” mount a new summit in their long career when they arrive on stage at the Palace of Arts on Jan 21. Tickets: Ft4,900, 7,900, 9,900, 13,900. 7:30pm, Palace of Arts, Komor Marcell utca 1, Pest, District IX. Tel: 555-3000. www.mupa.hu

Nouvelle Vague (FR) A38:
With a name that means "new wave" in English and "bossa nova" in Portuguese, Nouvelle Vague's moniker neatly sums up the group's concept: remaking classic new wave singles with a Brazilian pop twist. The band is the brainchild of French producers Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux. Prior to this collaboration, Collin played with the trip-hop outfit Ollano; composed film soundtracks such as The Kidnapper's Theme; and released electronic music ranging from club-oriented material for Paper Recordings to more eclectic fare for Fcom and Output Records. Libaux played with various French pop bands during the '90s and began working with Collin in 1998. For Nouvelle Vague they recruited half a dozen French and Brazilian vocalists who were unfamiliar with the original versions of songs like Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart and XTC's Making Plans for Nigel to ensure that their renditions had their own identity. Nouvelle Vague was released in Europe in 2004 and received US distribution in spring 2005, which coincided with tour dates in locales as far-flung as Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles, and Rio de Janeiro. Their second album, A Bande a Part, arrived in 2006. The following year, the team returned with Coming Home, a collection of songs from films given the Nouvelle Vague treatment. New Wave, a collection of covers by new wave artists, also arrived in 2007. Tickets: Ft5,900. February 1, 8pm, A38 Ship. Petôfi Bridge, Buda side. Tel: 464-3940. www.a38.hu

Zdob si Zdub (MD):
The energy bomb from Moldavia, the East-European Red Hot Chilli Peppers returns to strike the Ship along with the excellent Folk Error. Zdob si Zdub has been kicking for already twelve years by now as one of the funniest and craziest bands of East-Europe. Their music can be described in the best way with their own words: hardcore Moldovenesc, it is hardcore from Moldavia. Having much in common with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’s model, their hard, kicking, funk-based hardcore with a radio-friendly sound carries powerful etno elements from Moldavia and the Balkans, which brought them huge popularity. Folk hardcore and Balkan beats: this is Zdob si Zdub. Guest: Folk Error, a Debrecen-based band; expect excellent fusion world music, classic folksong motifs tuned onto a dancing-funky-progrock basis in a crazy remake. Tickets: Ft2,500. Jan 16, 9pm, A38 Ship. Petôfi Bridge, Buda side. Tel: 464-3940. www.a38.hu

Bori Péterfy Love Band & ION:
Bori Péterfy, the most glamorous star of the Hungarian underground music scene, is also an acclaimed theater actress, and the member of Krétakör theater company. She takes over Trafó’s stage again, this time as a singer and songwriter, along with her high voltage punk-rock/chanson Love Band. She started her pop career in the band Amorf Ördögök: founded in 2000; this unique phenomenon gained reputation with their do-it-yourself approach and self-designed gadget-pop style. The successor of the already split Amorf, Bori Péterfy & Love Band go even further: they master a larger-than-life blend of the alto diva's hypersensitive persona and lyrical interpretation backed by primitive, raw energy of loud punk-rock music. Guest: ION. Jan 24, 8pm, Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Pest, District IX, Liliom utca 41. Tel: 456-2055, 456-2050. Information: www.trafo.hu

Esperanza Spalding (US):
Imagine a beautiful, 24-year old girl, who taught herself all there is to know about the double bass, and who, at the age of fifteen, could choose between the local blues and rock bands. What is more she was pumping out her own songs and singing them. She was sixteen, when she won a scholarship to the Boston Berklee School of Music; she was soon giving concerts with Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano and Dave Samuels; and, although she graduated, she still couldn’t leave Berklee; she became the youngest teacher there in its history. In 2006, she made her CD debut with Junjo and was already performing in Europe, for example at the MOL Jazz Festival. In 2008, she released another album, called Esperanza. Which is Spanish for Hope. And what is the most remarkable thing in this story? That there is nothing “exceptional” in Esperanza’s music. It is gripping, but fundamentally she plucks and sings simple songs; she leads a “simple” quartet, playing acoustic jazz, samba, bossa nova and pop music. She does not want to show off and yet we can’t ignore her. She is a prodigy as an adult as well. Lineup: Esperanza Spalding (double bass, vocals), Leo Genovese (piano), Ricardo de Almeida Vogt (guitar), Otis Brown (drums). Tickets: Ft1,700, 3,200, 4,100. Jan 26, 7:30pm, Palace of Arts, Komor Marcell utca 1, Pest, District IX. Tel: 555-3000. www.mupa.hu

Lützenkirchen live (D):
Tobias Lützenkirchen is probably the craziest and most elegant representative of minimal-techno mixing Cuban and German blood in his veins, along with some of the most outstanding dj-s from the home scene. Lützenkirchen is not unknown to those clubbers and DJs who are up-to-date with current developments. With a huge string of successful tunes under his belt, he has been the one to watch for the last three years. Responsible for huge club hits such as the phenomenal Daily Disco–which mutated into a huge hit and got included on many compilations. Actually, almost all of his productions instantly mutate into burners. Avoiding being pigeon-holed, it seems like he’s enjoying the challenge to constantly reinvent himself while bringing his unmistakable trademark sound to perfection. Graced with a great sense for harmonics and groove, Lütze, son of a Cuban and a German, manages to produce tracks that not only stand out because of their great quality but also because of their nature, uniting bombastic moments with the spirit of the underground. He set up his very own label Platform B to offer him and his raving producer friends an outlet. Does this guy ever sleep? No. To top it all off, he is DJing all around the globe, raving in front and behind the turntables. Having it large. Guests: Isu, NVC DJs, Monkey6 DJs (H). Tickets: Ft2,500. Jan 24, 10pm, A38 Ship. Petôfi Bridge, Buda side. Tel: 464-3940. www.a38.hu

Blue Note trip: where dance meets jazz–DJ Maestro (NL) feat Trio Exclusiv (A) and Óperentzia (H).
The king of redefining the legendary jazz label, Blue Note's pearls into the latest sound, DJ Maestro meets an incredibly crazy and skilled band,Trio Exclusiv to take on a joyride jazz back to the dancefloors with the support of the Óperentzia, the new favourite of the Hungarian nu jazz scene. Trio Exklusiv invokes nostalgia with accomplished disco-jazz; this Viennese band dips into its rich stylistic repertoire and serves up a highly concentrated dose of superb jazz music for the dance floor or for the home disco. All hand-played, just as it should be. Their busy concert schedule includes gigs at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Madrid International Jazz Festival, the Belgrade Refract Festival and now at Budapest’s A38 concert ship. Expect improvisations and elaborate arrangements. DJ Maestro, Trio Exclusive and Óperentzia will take you to the place where dance meets jazz from the past into the future. Tickets: Ft2,500. Jan 17, 10pm, A38 Ship. Petôfi Bridge, Buda side. Tel: 464-3940. www.a38.hu

Tim Etchells (UK): That Night Follows Day.
A touching and thought-provoking journey to our long forgotten childhood universe, to a time when we still had the ability to find the world magical. A performance ‘with children, but for adults,’ with 17 youngsters, by Tim Etchells, the Artistic Director of longstanding festival favourite theatre company Forced Entertainment. ‘The power of adults is huge. As a child we are all too familiar with the word “No”: “No not now, no you’re too young, no you can’t . . .’ According to director Etchells, the young performers enjoy nothing more than parroting these adult excuses back at their audience. That Night Follows Day catalogues the many ways in which the world of children and young people is determined by that of adults. It examines the systems of parenthood, upbringing, discipline, care and welfare that define children’s and adolescents’ worlds as well as turning the spotlight on the actual situation of performance itself. In Flamish language, with English and Hungarian subtitles. Jan 16-17, 8pm, Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Pest, District IX, Liliom utca 41. Tel: 456-2055, 456-2050. www.trafo.hu

Andrea Balogh