Nice to Meet You, Mr. Šeban!
Although I’ve heard about Andrej Šeban many times, I had never listened to his music until recently The person who wanted me to come to this concert is one of my friends whom I look up to (in terms of musical taste). I expected a lot after the superlatives people used in reference to him. However, my music guide warned me that the last time he went to Šeban's concert there was a little girl crying hysterically. So I imagined someone like Justin Bieber – either you love him or hate him.
The concert took place in the community center DK Zrkadlový háj in Petržalka, which is a nice venue with socialist history and intimate atmosphere. Mr. Šeban kept us waiting – he probably wanted to be called out by a huge applause. After a while, some lame handclapping began; and it seemed that I was not the only one to see him for the first time. Listening to the first song, I thought about how long I was going to bear those sounds. Another disturbing element was a video recorder attached to a long rod, dangling above our heads as if they were no longer meant to stay attached to our bodies. It must have been a funny scene for the band because every few minutes our half of the audience freaked out and had to crouch.
During the second song the musicians started to let out sounds that created an interesting melody. However, I was really amused when Šeban opened his mouth. Not only was it a source of a youthful voice, but of great charisma, too. In the beginning, his voice took us far away to the scorching Sahara. The atmosphere was reinforced by the spotlights aimed directly at us, reminiscent of the burning sun that forces you to close your eyes. Unfortunately, I later found out that the lighting wasn’t part of the song – it was just a wrongly adjusted spotlight blinding the audience during the whole concert.
Šeban makes a huge impression especially when speaking. He is one of the lucky guys who can say anything to make you laugh insanely. While he was telling short stories from his own life, one started to feel like he was part of the audience, a cynical friend with a good sense of humor suffering from a midlife crisis. So we found out that he doesn’t like his growing paunch, that he bought a new guitar for his 50th birthday (“with my own money in the Aupark shopping center”) and we heard some pretty harsh criticism of certain Slovak musicians who are getting on his nerves.
I must tell you one of his stories: Once a fan approached the band and asked if they could play his two favorite songs: “Tonko lízy” and “Šunka papilón”. After a long thinking and questioning they found out that the guy meant the songs “Don’t Come Easy” and “Sugar, Baby, Love”. Šeban and Müller liked this story so much that they made nicknames from the fictitious song titles and then composed a song about it.
There were three other young men, or rather boys, performing together with Šeban. Wittily, he explained how he had “discovered“ them: “I heard the bass guitarist playing in Café Scherz. I liked him immediately, got his number from a friend, but didn’t call him. I’m not used to calling men and especially not the young ones, you know what I mean?”
His funny, slightly erotic comments on the other members of the band reminded me of my classmates from high school who made fun of each other in the same way. The teasing just proved how strong their friendship was because the “chemistry” worked, just like in Andrej Šeban’s band. Each of them performed a solo where they showed their great musical skills and zest to experiment. I was shocked when somebody screamed at the keyboardist: “Go home, you fag!“ I’m not sure whether this comment was a result of Šeban's stylish outfit or whether that guy simply did not like his experiments, but when he finished, the audience awarded him with even greater applause. The drummer seemed to be even younger, maybe highschool age. I truly admire the cast-iron discipline because this kid evidently has to practice every day.
At the end, the band decided for two encores, maybe because they were playing in Šeban’s birthplace or because of the monumental atmosphere they created in the hall. Šeban could not resist the last joke: “Thank you, Trnava, erhm…” He also mentioned that they did not practice playing the last song very much, but according to the frontman’s words - “the less we practiced, the worse it will be”. The most brilliant quote of the evening was definitely when Šeban said: “Express train on track No. 3, don’t stop! Bratislava is overcrowded!”
Šeban proved that he is a genius not only by telling and singing his bittersweet stories, but also by the music full of experiments. He might make an impression of a self-centered, arrogant musician and he definitely won't make friends by criticizing his music colleagues, but I think he has a good reason for it. Maybe an artist just needs to adore himself in order to be able to sell his work. If it really is so, I hope that Šeban’s confidence will grow even more and that he will continue making music his own way, full of experiments, no matter how crazy they are. The concert wasn’t flawless, but the more people will know Šeban, the more people will be able to see the results of his successful and inspiring hard work. His performance will make you think about life, music and at the same time you will get a good laugh.
Now, enough of singing your praises - see you at your next concert, Mr. Šeban!
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