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Napoleon dynamic

Indie band Bonaparte’s modern vaudeville show comes to town.

Published: January 30, 2013 (Issue # 1744)



  • Bonaparte has a reputation for flamboyant and colorful performances.
    Photo: MELISSA HOSTETLER

A trash circus, a celebration of hedonism, a grotesque theatre: The performances of Berlin-based indie band Bonaparte, which returns to St. Petersburg this week, can be described in many ways, but one thing is certain — this is no ordinary band.

Bonaparte, renowned for its colorful performances in which a cheerful army of freaks wearing incredible costumes and masks amuse the audience to the accompaniment of songs by lead singer Tobias Jundt, brings its brand of dance-punk and electro rock enriched with carnival traditions to the city’s A2 Club on Feb. 2.

The worldwide success of Bonaparte is primarily due to founder Jundt, a Swiss “dissident” whose original point of view and sense of humor is evident in his philosophical approach to life: “If I could only choose three things: Family, music and kizlyarka [Dagestani grape vodka], I am quite happy!” he said in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times ahead of the upcoming local gig.

The eccentric stage outfits worn by Jundt are a distinctive feature of the band’s concerts.

“I never enjoyed looking like everyone else much, even as a child. Make-up and clothing and songs can give you a lot of strength,” said Jundt, who often appears on stage in black eyeliner, a flame-colored wig and a jacket reminiscent of the Napoleonic era.

“I am not really afraid to do something silly along the way or use languages that I do not actually speak,” said Jundt. “You have to have fun. I am interested in what happens when the music hits the audience, if everything becomes one. Also I naturally combine sobriety and humor. I always felt that you should meet your topics wholeheartedly, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it across with a bit of irony or a twist in the roles,” he added.

Jundt founded Bonaparte in 2006 and the group performed its first show in the now legendary Bar 25 in Berlin. According to Jundt, the name Bonaparte made sense in the early days of the project.

“I drove around Europe in my small sixties car putting little flags in places where I wanted to go to. It was like a calling. I was a bit afraid, when we first visited Russia, that we might encounter Napoleon’s fate from 1812, but we clearly did a better job than him, because we came with love in our hearts and music in our guns.”

Along the way, Jundt made new friends who wanted to take part in the project and now Bonaparte, which functions more as a collective than as a typical band, includes around 20 artists. The concert at A2, which is to take place a day after the group’s show in Moscow, is expected to feature eight of the group.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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