Dubbed ‘the dream-pop idol of tomorrow’ by Pitchfork, the Australian singer and bassist Hatchie makes music which sounds like the soundtrack to the teen romance you always wished you had. Ever-evolving, from the evidence we've heard so far she has spliced the sound of swirling dancefloors to her sparkling-pop melodies on upcoming debut album ‘Keepsake’.
Listen to: Bad Guy, Stay With Me
Paradiso // 7 June // Tickets
Lindsey Jordan AKA Snail Mail is currently touring the world after releasing her debut album ‘Lush’ to rave reviews from critics who lauded it as an “indie rock masterpiece” (Fader) and Jordan as the “wisest teenage indie rocker we know” (Pitchfork). She is 19. If that wasn’t proof enough of her prodigious talent take just one listen to Snail Mail's songs – which match quickening heartbeat strums of crystalline guitar with her mellifluous voice.
Listen to: Pristine, Heat Wave
Paradiso // 13 June // Tickets
Solo female popstars aren’t in short supply at the minute, but Pixx’s futuristic take on electropop – which blends motorik guitars, industrial grind, icy delivery and the occasional mega chorus - sets her well apart from the rest of the pack. Debut album ‘The Age of Anxiety’ was somewhat of an under-appreciated classic, but upcoming album ‘Small Mercies’ could finally readdress that oversight by garnering the attention Pixx certainly deserves.
Listen to: Disgrace, Waterslides
Cinetol // 20 June // Tickets
Loose Ends Festival
A new festival for Amsterdam, Loose Ends brings together some of the most hotly-tipped garage, punk and post-punk bands together at the city’s NDSM neighbourhood. As well as the ever-engaging and sweary headliners Sleaford Mods, up and coming Irish punks Fontaine’s D.C., the scintillating Sunflower Bean and Pip Blom also appear on the bill.
Listen to: Sleaford Mods 'Tied up in Nottz', Fontaines D.C. 'Ray's Song'
NDSM // June 23 // Tickets
After reemerging on to the scene with her own independent label, and with a score of bona fide bangers under her belt, Robyn has literally redefined what pop can be. She’s a pop artist that indie kids can like and a pop artist who made pop lovers reassess just what their favourite genre is capable of. Her sound – one that makes you want to dance through the pain of life and lost loves rather than wallow in it - has influenced everyone from Rhianna to Taylor Swift and Lorde.
Listen to: Dancing on My Own, With Every Heartbeat
AFAS Live // 26 June // Tickets
California-duo Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker make music that evokes those teenage times when all you needed was a CD and an empty bed to curl up and listen to it in. Part grunge, part Riot Grrrl, delve beneath the nostalgia and you’ll discover a quite lovely ability to coax lullaby-like melodies from the most basic components.
Listen to: Cut Your Bangs, Chinatown
Paradiso // 15 July // Tickets
Father John Misty / Jose Gonzales
Father John Misty’s fiery wit and malcontent musicality might not seem like the perfect match to Jose Gonzales’ optimistic acoustics but being able to see the two artists together on the same night seems almost too good to be true. What’s best is that they’re teaming up at the picturesque open-air theatre Caprera, which is nestled between the dunes and the forest in the beach resort of Bloemendaal.
Listen to: So much to choose from!
Caprera Theatre, Bloemendaal // 6 August // Tickets
Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival)
Possibly the first time I have chosen a classical music event for the gig guide (for shame!), but if I was going to start with one then it doesn’t really get any more spectacular than the magnificent Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival). Held annually in August on and around Amsterdam’s canals, it’s one of the cultural highlights of the city’s summer. Lasting for 10 days, it features performances at beautiful stages that pop up by or even on the water, as musicians play on pontoons and the audience listens from the canal side or their own boats. If you’re going to pick just one concert from its stellar roster, make it the Prinsengracht Concert, which takes place by the Pulitzer Hotel and draws in huge crowds each year.
Listen to: Classical music on one of Amsterdam's iconic canals. Enough said!
Various venues // 9-18 August // More info
I might not even go to this gig in all honesty, but I am willing to pop it on this list as what Ariana Grande has done in the last year or two is nothing short of spectacular. A lightweight pop princess who bloomed into a true pop star, her rise to the upper echelons of fame is as much testament to her sensitive and defiant reaction to traumas which have littered the passage of her life in the last few years as it is to her music. Not that she hasn’t got the songs, with latest album ‘Thank U, Next’ quickly becoming an unruly upstart in the pantheon of great break-up records, musing on life, love and the difficulties of being a woman in the 21st century.
Listen to: 7 Rings, One Last Time
Ziggo Dome // 23 & 24 August // Tickets
New Zealand’s The Beths make indie-pop guitar music that speaks to the awkward, the self-conscious and the people that spend large portions of time overthinking things. In fact, The Beths’ lyrics - plucked from lead singer Elizabeth Stokes’ hurricane stream-of-consciousness sessions - tackle just this subject. But despite appealing to the outsider in all of us, the group’s music is the perfect antidote to anxiety, filled with more hooks than a fisherman’s satchel and with a confidence that belies Stokes’ chosen subject matter. It’s music about feeling bad that makes you feel good.
Paradiso // 26 August // Tickets
Listen to: Happy Unhappy, Little Death
For more great events in Amsterdam check out I amsterdam's Weekend Guide.