A proper poet, the brilliant Kate Tempest writes songs that are stories, using her rat-a-tat delivery to weave together tales that talk about love, class and life with an observational eye that only the greatest writers offer. Her latest album, ‘The Book of Traps and Lessons’, might be her best yet, with confident melodies revelling in simplicity fusing perfectly with Tempest’s ruminating and romantic soliloquies.
Listen to: People's Faces, Europe is Lost
Paradiso // 23 Oct // Tickets
For me, this edition of London Calling is all about three different acts: Helado Negro, Squid and W.H. Lung. Three artists/bands all very different from each other, but three which haven’t played Amsterdam recently and demand to be seen. Helado Negro’s latest album ‘This is How You Smile’ is already one of my albums of 2019, Squid are finally making music that delivers on the promise of their haywire live sets, and W.H. Lung’s motorik rhythms and post-punk postures make them one of the most exciting bands to come out of my native Manchester in the last few years.
Listen to: Squid 'Houseplants', W.H. Lung 'Inspiration!'
Paradiso // 25 & 26 Oct // Tickets
John Cooper Clarke
A true punk-poet, modern-day troubadour Cooper Clarke’s life has seen him find fame during the punk rock era of the late 1970s and spend years in the wilderness in thrall to a pretty serious heroin addiction (at one point living in Manchester with the Velvet Underground’s Nico). Nowadays he is back on the road, bringing his brilliant, warm wit along as he entertains cross-generational crowds with poetry and comedy. A true living legend, if you haven’t spent a night in Cooper Clarke’s company (or even if you have) then don’t miss the chance to do so now.
Q-Factory // 26 Oct // Tickets
How could anybody resist a Japanese girl group who shred their instruments and conduct crazy dance routines throughout their live shows? Well if that wasn’t enough to entice your attention then listen to the four-piece’s songs, three-minute-long assaults of punk energy, gang vocals and synth-led melodies that lodge in your head faster than Bolt could run the 100 metres.
Listen to: CHOOSE GO!, Fashionista
Paradiso Noord // 2 Nov // Tickets
Cigarettes After Sex
With songs that evoke nights sat in smoky bars whispering sweet nothings to lovers, Cigarettes After Sex may not be the band for you if you’re looking for something loud, chaotic or that might shift above anything other than mid-tempo. But, explore the Brooklyn-based quartet’s back catalogue and you’ll discover pristine, classic songwriting that’s matched in scope and skill by their affecting ambient melodies, a yearning sound that’s underpinned by lead singer Greg Gonzalez’s androgynous, haunting voice.
Listen to: K,Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby
Paradiso // 3 Nov // Tickets
In the hands of a lesser band, the pastoral-inflected hues of Whitney’s unashamedly nostalgic Americana could easily have failed to ignite almost any excitement at all in a musical landscape where the demand for streams mean albums are stuffed full of songs desperate to grab one more click. Instead, the assured, earnest rock’n’roll of their 2016 debut album ‘Light upon the Lake’ helped it earn a deserved place on playlists around the world. Live, the band perform with a free-wheeling ease that only helps increase the impression they’re the friends you never had. With new music promised this year, this might be the perfect time to see them.
Listen to: No Woman, Valleys (My Love)
Paradiso // 18 Nov // Tickets
One of the UK’s best bands, Hot Chip rarely release a record that isn’t full of pristine pop melodies yet still manages to push boundaries. Live, the group pound their pulsating house beats out with such relish that venues are transformed into temples to rave. Praise be.
Listen to: One Life Stand, The Warning
Melkweg // 2 Dec // Tickets
Fat White Family
Prone to performing naked and known as almighty party animals, controversy and conflict have plagued Fat White Family’s rise to become one of the most mythologised UK bands of the last few years. Surprisingly, the fights, side projects and drug abuse didn’t result in the group self-destructing, and instead saw them release perhaps their best album yet this year. If you fancy this gig, we recommend going in with an open mind and some earplugs.
Listen to: Touch the Leather, Feet
Melkweg // 8 Dec // Tickets
For more great events in Amsterdam check out I amsterdam's Weekend Guide.