Listed below is just a selection of the upcoming concerts & gig highlights for December 2014, giving music lovers a head start. If classical music is more to your taste, check out the upcoming classical concert highlights. For more inspiration about what's on in Amsterdam, take a look through the monthly event guide!
Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar
Shantel is one of the driving forces behind the Balkan beats craze. His infectious tracks mash together 21st-century club beats with polka, traditional Slavic music and other eastern European genres. It’s the sort of stuff that definitely gets crowds out on the dance floor. He’s joined by his cataclysmic crew, the Bucovina Club Orkestar.
Wed 3 Dec, Melkweg, 19:30, €17.50
Mike Scott’s The Waterboys have been on the go now for some 30 years, give or take the odd hiatus and solo career. Now they’re enjoying a bit of a resurgence, showcasing old hits like ‘The Whole of the Moon’ and ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, as well as new material from a promised new album.
Fri 5 & Sat 6 Dec, Paradiso, 20:30, €32
‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and ‘The Wild Rover’ are among the age-old tunes that have been given new life by this Irish folk band. They’ve racked up millions of views on YouTube and have brought their bodacious balladry to stages all the way from Las Vegas to the Czech Republic.
Sun 7 Dec, People’s Place, 20:30, €14
The New Pornographers
The New Pornographers and their explicitly pop tunes have attracted a wide following since they first got together in 1999. It’s little surprise given that this Canadian indie rock supergroup is comprised of musicians who also record and perform with popular acts like Destroyer and A.C. Newman and are often joined by country singer-songwriter Neko Case, too. The full band doesn’t always make it out on tour but their latest album is titled Brill Bruisers, which perfectly represents the bruising, colourful power pop they specialise in.
Sun 7 Dec, Melkweg, 20:00, €16
He’s been waking up the neighbours since at least the early ‘90s. Hits like ‘Summer of ‘69’ and ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It for You’ have made Adams a soft rock legend. His latest album is 2014’s Tracks of My Years.
Mon 8 Dec, Ziggo Dome, 20:00, €39-€54
Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw
Get in the swing for Christmas with a seasonal show by Amsterdam’s biggest and best jazz crew. Every December they hit the road with special guests and surprises, with legendary singer Kurt Elling from Chicago joining this time round. He has a voice as delicious as hot chocolate on Christmas Eve and has the stage presence to match. So if you prefer your festive tunes to hark back to the days of crooners like Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby or, erm, Michael Buble, you’re sure to love this experience.
Wed 10 Dec, Royal Concertgebouw, 20:15, €21-€56
The mesmerising Elly Jackson makes up this synth-pop solo act from London. La Roux’s songs recall ‘80s new wave and her debut album, a collaborative effort with acclaimed producer Ben Langmaid, earned her a Grammy Award in 2011.
Wed 10 Dec, Paradiso, 20:30, €15
Boyz II Men
Motownphilly is back again...again. This American R&B group stormed the charts with Cooleyhighharmony, their 1991 debut. If you attended a high school disco in the early ‘90s, there’s a good chance you slow danced to their inescapable hit singles like ‘It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday’ or ‘End of the Road’.
Wed 10 Dec, Melkweg, 20:00, €35
These Belgian rockers are as well known for their power anthems as they are for their cool suits and sharp fashion sense. In fact, Triggerfinger have become a staple on the European rock fest circuit and their smashing live sets plug a hole similar to the internationally popular Queens of the Stone Age.
Fri 12 Dec, Heineken Music Hall, 20:00, €32
The UK-based Letz Zep have wowed fans on no fewer than four continents. Their current tour focuses heavily on songs from Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy, two of the original band’s most iconic albums. After seeing them in action, Robert Plant himself gave this Led Zeppelin cover band his personal stamp of approval.
Sat 13 Dec, Melkweg, 20:30, €20
Sounds of the South
Singer-songwriter Matthew E. White and Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon typically lead this folk rock collective. The fourteen-piece act even includes members of the psychedelic folk band Megafaun and jazz outfit Fight the Big Bull, together revisiting the field recordings by ethnomusicologist Alan Locax. Due to personal reasons, Vernon had to bow out from this show, but his colleagues are sure to deliver a memorable evening of mesmeric folk and roots music.
Tue 16 Dec, Paradiso, 20:30, €27.50
War of the Worlds
The Black Smoke Band leads this electrifying tribute to HG Wells’ classic sci-fi novel, with 2014 marking the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ infamous War of the Worlds broadcast. This show, which includes a 36-string orchestra and thrilling special effects, isn’t likely to lead to widespread panic but it’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Among its innovative features: a 3D hologram of actor Liam Neeson and a colossal, fire-spewing ‘Martian War Machine’ that towers over the stage.
Tue 16 Dec, Heineken Music Hall, 20:00, €55-€62
Tom Barman leads this Antwerp-based rock outfit – undoubtedly one of Belgium’s biggest musical exports. The band returned from a lengthy hiatus in 2004 and they continue to draw a devoted cult following. Their most recent release is 2012’s Following Sea, an album they released on the internet that drew rave reviews from fans and music critics alike. And, of course, they still revisit plenty of their late-‘90s hits like ‘Little Arithmetics’ and ‘Suds & Soda’, especially as these shows mark 20 years of the band.
Wed 17 & Thur 18 Dec, Paradiso, 20:30, €29
- Amsterdam ArenA
- De Duif
- Heineken Music Hall
- Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
- North Sea Jazz Club
- People’s Place
- Royal Concertgebouw
- Royal Theatre Carré
- Ziggo Dome