If Balkan Beat is your fancy then Lille Vega was a pilgrim’s temple on Wednesday, set alight by Shantel and the Bucovina Orchestra. Though the show did not sell out, the crowd that showed up was a very enthusiastic bunch, hyped-up from the word go and loud to the very end, somewhat of a marvel considering the concert’s midweek placement.
The Bucovina Orchestra is one of the exciting projects of German DJ and producer Shantel. Many are familiar with their jolly, uptempo Balkan sounds that awaken memories of the film Borat. A boundary breaker from the techno stronghold of Frankfurt, Shantel draws from the likes of Balkan greats such as Fanfare Ciocarla and Goran Begovic himself and is no stranger to these parts, having performed at the very same venue just over a year ago.
Chaotic at times, Shantel and the Bucovina Orchestra deliver pure party msuic, played with the intent of causing a riot. Wednesday’s midweek shenanigans at Lille Vega were no different.
After a slow start by their own standards, Shantel & co kicked into gear midway through the proceedings, as signature track ‘Disko Partizani’ rang out to a raucous response. This was followed by a neat ream of back-to back brass-laden tunes that saw T-shirts flung with reckless aplomb as the crowd rekindled memories of Roskilde Festival’s mosh pit moments.
With the night coming to a close, merry, anthemic songs such as the comical ‘Citizen of Planet Paprika’ and the well-known ‘Bucovina’ were but two peaks in a series of late-show antics that worked the crowd into a frenzy. The highlight of this was the entire audience squatting and kneeling on two occasions before flinging themselves upwards for particularly epic chorus moments. In fact, having gone off stage, Shantel & Co were cheered back for an encore from a kneeling crowd that may well have been in downtown Belgrade as opposed to Vesterbro.
Six or so songs later and it was all over after one last wave of bombastic action wrung the crowd into a final furore. Whilst the long encore was a novel move, it did drag on towards the end, way beyond the climax of it all.
With winter closing in, more Balkan action at Vega can be found in the form of Gogol Bordello’s concert on December 6, which promises to be even more enthralling that Wednesday’s show was.