Monday, 19 September 2011

Inca Babies in Amsterdam

17th Century Dutch houses
A forty-five minute flight separates Manchester from the capital of hedonism that is Amsterdam. It's been a few years since I've been there but the huge clouds of ganja smoke and creepy brothel windows are still a central feature, and make the city such a weird cocktail of other people's pleasure-seeking.
We had a five o'clock cab but by ten thirty (that's an hour ahead, European time) we were relaxing with coffee and cheese sandwiches in the garden of promoter Natasha TrishTrash, enjoying warm and pleasant sunshine, after meeting up at one of rock'n'roll's great meeting places: outside Burger King at Schipol Airport.

Could you be mistaken..?
We were on our first Dutch jaunt as the current line-up of the Inca Babies, and looking forward to it. Amsterdam's a capital of music in northern Europe: everyone goes through there and it's a great place to be playing.  I hadn't been in Holland in a band since 1986 and my days in A Witness, when we just had the night off in Amsterdam and didn't actually play there.

The venue was called Winston Kingdom, down a side street from Dam Square. It was a good size, clean and had - most welcome of all things - a good sound man.

I hate sound checks as a rule but here the mix was quick and easy and sounded good. There's only so far you can take a soundcheck, so we headed out to see more of the sights.

Rob and Harry soundcheck
We arrived back from our post-soundcheck stroll in time to catch the set from Yokocola, fronted by a great singer called Sidhi. Her style reminded me at times of Siouxsie Sue and the band's material of Suicide.. insistent and repetitive but with good vocal hooks.

After our last gig in Blackpool (when we had to cut the set short to 30 mins due to band over-runs earlier in the evening) we wanted to play what we'd gone with.
We started with The Judge and Opium Den and then a couple of new ones; Bikini Quicksand and But Not This Time. They'll be on the album we were recording earlier in the month.
Harry slipped on his bottleneck for the slow slide of Tumbling Man and Can't No Tombstone before Phantom Track and Monologues of Madness led into our ending of The Interior, Buster's On Fire, Some Kinda Reason and, to end with, Bewildered.
People in the crowd danced, shouted and generally interacted, which always makes you give more yourself, so we went back on and did two encores - Grunt Cadillac Hotel and Lung Knives - before calling it a day and giving way to DJ TrishTrash.

Harry, Natasha TrishTrash and Rob
Natasha's got a good thing going there. We met half a dozen English people passing through on their way from or to other gigs, football matches or heading through town, and a host of really enthusiastic music fans. It's good to go to Amsterdam if only to see a city where - it's been said for decades - people appreciate creativity and culture and the conditions exist for it to thrive.

We came back to the UK on Saturday buzzing about the gig, and keen to go back out next year when the new album's ready. Next on the list is the launch in Warsaw on October 1st of the vinyl version of the current Inca's album 'Death Message Blues' which is the work of Polish promoter Tomek, who is one of life's absolute characters. We're looking forward to seeing Tomek again, but I'm planning to get a few early nights in beforehand. That guy never sleeps!


  1. Sorry time better contact before the gig!
    Was in Du-dorf

  2. Cheers from LA Mates, Inca Babies come back