Amsterdam gig guide: What to see in April
Our resident music man Steven McCarron returns with a spring in his step to bring you his pick of April’s must-see gigs.
Start your musical month with something ludicrous. Swedish rock/metal outfit Ghost, fronted by the inimitable Papa Emeritus and backed by A Nameless Ghoul, A Nameless Ghoul, A Nameless Ghoul and quite a few more Nameless Ghouls, step up to the AFAS Live. High on drama and concept, Ghost’s music isn’t especially heavy – if anything, their most common comparison is Blue Oyster Cult. But still, a bit of light-hearted mystery, schlock and some base-level rock ’n’ roll chops hasn’t done Kiss any harm (given their return to the Netherlands next month).
AFAS Live // 6 April
Video: Ghost – Square Hammer
World Minimal Music Festival
Breathe in… breathe out. This biennial festival makes it back to the Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ this month, showcasing the best of the minimal music scene – and perhaps more importantly, the new kids on the block taking inspiration from minimal techniques. Tickets are already hard to come by for many of the main shows, but if you hurry, you can still nab a place at The Theatre of Eternal Music Brass Ensemble’s matinee show, in which the group of eight trumpetists tackle highlights by minimal icon La Monte Young (9 April). It sounds intriguing. And keep in mind that there’s a pretty excellent side programme taking place, split between the Muziekgebouw and De School. Synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani (8 April) makes an appearance (she’s actually part of the main programme, but it feels a tad more subversive due to her influence on many new electronic artists). Here she showcases the Buchla, the plug-and-play synth that she began experimenting with some 40 years ago (and which looks like it belongs on the set of a 1950s sci-fi movie). If you’re up for a late show, Steve Hauschildt (6 April), a former member of arpeggio dreamers Emeralds, performs a solo session for the bargain price of a fiver.
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (and other locations) // 5-9 April
Video: Suzanne Ciani – ‘The Fifth Wave: Water Lullaby’
This Dutch indie band (main picture) have been doing the rounds for a decade now, maintaining a fairly steady audience throughout… at least until 2017. A couple of months back they released their new record ‘Strike’, and while it probably isn’t going to change the world, they’ve captured a more urgent energy behind the carefully crafted guitar pop. It’s crisp and clean but never too predictable. In fact, it could easily be compared to a band like The Shins, so it has the potential to flirt with bigger audiences outside of the Dutch pop circuit. And that’s exactly what support band Amber Arcades has been doing with her dream pop. Annelotte de Graaf is signed to Heavenly and began writing songs when living in the US. Having already received plenty of positive attention in America and the UK, Amsterdam seems about ready to catch up.
20 April // Tolhuistuin
Video: Moss – The Promise
If you find the sound of Moss a tad too clean, then young(er) upstarts Wolvon are set to unleash their new album at OT301 on the same night. Much more rabid, they promise frantic drumming, squealing guitars, a love of Sonic Youth and have proved to be a thrilling live act in Amsterdam in recent years. Nailing that vibe on record is a much trickier task, but they’re giving it a solid crack with second album ‘Ease’. There’s also sets by Serbian band Repetitor and Amsterdammers HWRH, so support the local scene, get a bit sweaty and buy (at least one) new album.
20 April, OT301
Video: Wolvon – ‘Chrome’
If you scoffed at the venue (and price) when Nick Cave was recently announced for Ziggo Dome in the autumn, perhaps you’re better investing a few pennies in Barry Adamson and an intimate gig in Paradiso. Okay, he’s not really working the same core oeuvre as Nick Cave these days, but he’s been a close collaborator – a member of The Birthday Party, a Bad Seed, and has had an amazing music career over the past 40 years, from post-punk and jazz to experimental electronica. Nothing is guaranteed from his sets but you can probably expect a bit of jazz, blues, folk and a solid dash of weirdness.
Paradiso, 21 April
Video: Barry Adamson – ‘They Walk Among Us’