July 19, 2017
1. Ferrys and Fairies
As the warm months roll in, punters trade dark, sauna-like clubs or the outdoors. Terrace and rooftop parties pop up as indoor venues downsize their activity or close altogether. And, of course, festival season kicks off.
In the eyes of both insiders and party-goers, the excellent Dekmantel Festival is Amsterdam's signature summer gathering. But for a few locals and adventurous listeners, there is Strange Sounds from Beyond - a smaller, more intimate Sunday happening in the artsy De Noord, Amsterdam's Brooklyn.
Strange Sounds From Beyond is a platform that works together closely with The Rest is Noise, Red Light Radio and Rush Hour. The sophomore edition came with a more ambitious line up after last year's acclaimed debut. And those 20-odd live acts and DJ sets of the one-dayer were looking extremely promising.
One could define their eclectic line up as balearic, exploring the sounds on the fringes of the dancefloor, from African goodness, to weird electronics, free jazz and disco with a healthy dose of darker shades of new beat and electro. It perfectly embodies the spirit of Amsterdam DJs such as Antal or Interstellar Funk.
Unlike my usual festival experiences, I was going with a little group this time around. And, in true Amsterdam fashion, a pre-show visit to the coffee shop wasn't really a headstart. It also didn't help that in the general THC-indused confusion we've been waiting in line for the wrong ferry, as if the crowd of glitter-drenched, kimono-clad festival fairies wasn't enough of an indicator.
After twenty minutes of wandering through construction sites and industrial buildings, I could finally hear the distant echoes of Jah Wobble, The Edge and Holger Czukay's "Hold On To Your Dreams"- we were home.