This spring and summer there has once again been a heating up of the gig scene here in Amsterdam with some great bands who have played and more to come.
A few weeks back I check out No Age when they played the Paradiso. This band definitely has something but as a live band I am not sure it is enough. As I had expected they delivered their 123 punk sounds with echoes of other post-punk and hardcore influences but they failed to engage me live. They were loud, very loud, and in fact it seems to be all that most people are saying about the gig. The sound was mixed badly and it was difficult to pick out any texture in most of their songs. Their latest single had enough space in the sound to shine through, as did a few other songs that they played. However I think this band still needs to develop in order to achieve greatness.
As a guitar and drum duo they are no longer a novel line up with many great bands in recently years who are of the same format. In recent months we were blown away when another duo called The Black Box Revelation played in the Paradiso Kleine Zaal, after the Ian Brown gig as far as I can recollect. This young teenage duo from Brussels were nothing short of amazing live and produced a very rich sound from just two players. The guitarist chokes some great sounds out of his guitar and most definitely has a Hendrix record or two in his collection. If you get a chance to check this band out I would definitely recommend taking a look.
Last Friday I saw awesome gig but unfortunately I did not have time to post a recommendation before the gig. The Chap hails from England and have such diverse musical influences it would be unfair to try to pigeonhole them into any genre of music (though if I was to say anything I would say art rock with a heavy electronica bent with elements of Kraftwerk and Talking Heads among many others).
They played in The New Anita which is a quasi legal squat bar/venue in the old west of Amsterdam that hosts bands in their basement. It’s an intimate venue with a very basic sound system but that did not seem to affect the sound from this band at all. They drew the crowd in from the very start with their ironic humour and sparkling sound. Even when the bass player broke a string early on in the gig and had to borrow another guitar from the local support band (the Stutters who were underwhelming) they came through with a very professional and entertaining set.
Now this is a band who has achieved greatness in just three albums and despite a critically claimed second album as reviewed by the Wire magazine they do not get the hype of some other bands I have seen recently (but fail to live up to), these guys can deliver the goods.
The set heavily featured track from their new album “Mega Breakfast” with tongue in cheek stormers like “Proper Rock” with lyrics like “Art Art Art don’t make no rave, Dave. Proper songs about girls and clubbing!” which is a huge Pixies-esque stomper and the hypnotically surreal “Caution Me” and of course their new single “Fun and Interesting” which I must admit took me a few listens to warm to due to the operatic elements in it when I heard it on MySpace; however live the track is another beast entirely with Johannes von Weizsäcker’s wryly delivered lyrics.
Don’t miss band if you are ever fortunate enough to see them live, as they are even better live than on record.
Tonight @ The Bimhuis – Monsieur Dubois
Named after the character from the French textbooks many of us had to learn from at School Monsieur Dubois hail from the Netherlands. This band plays dance Jazz music which should appeal to fans of Nicola Conte et all.
Tomorrow Sunday June 15’th – Matmos and Midaircondo play tribute to Karlheinz Stockenhaus @ The Bimhuis
Now and again the Bimhuis inserts contemporary electronic artists into its Jazz program that is great as it’s a lovely venue with great acoustics and has a wonderful panoramic backdrop view of the city of Amsterdam from behind the stage. Tomorrow night will be the much-acclaimed US duo Matmos and the Swedish ambient electronic Midaircondo play a tribute to the electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockenhaus.
There is a very good description of Matmos on Last.fm.