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Slim’s pickins By Steven McCarron



t’s okay to come late to a party. We certainly did with Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. This Denver-born singersongwriter and his revolving cast of chums released five albums between 1995 and 2005 before we finally caught on in 2008. That’s when his punkabilly-gothiccountry-pseudo-gospel-folk band finally came to Paradiso, performing weird numbers like ‘Americadio’ and ‘That Fierce Cow is Common Sense in a Country Dress’ with a spiritual fervour. A night of crazed banjo play, frying guitar amps and satanic yodelling ensued, with Slim and his partner in crime Munly Munly even marching into the audience to perform some evangelistic healing at one point. Yip, Mumford & Sons they ain’t. Now they’re back in town to promote new record Unentitled and because whenever this band is talked about it becomes necessary to throw together so many contrasting genre tags, we asked Slim to pick out five tracks that have inspired and influenced him. Perhaps it’ll help you put the pieces together… Mahalia Jackson – ‘Keep your Hand on the Plow’ The Auto Club recorded this song as ‘Hold On’ on our first record. We did our best, but she was the greatest. WWW.UNFOLDAMSTERDAM.NL

The Waterboys – ‘Church Not Made With Hands’ I also love CS Lewis books. Bob Dylan – ‘I Believe In You’ When I was a kid I had Slow Train Coming on a cassette a friend gave me. This was the last song. Unfortunately the cassette was too short to fit the whole album so the song ended like this, ‘Oh, though the earth may shake me. Oh, though my friends forsake me. Oh, even that...’ Remember when Sinéad O’Connor was going to sing this song at the Bob Dylan tribute concert, but they booed and screamed because she had ripped up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live? When she walked off stage Kris Kristofferson gave her a hug. I love Kris Kristofferson. You can include every one of his songs on my playlist. Slim Whitman – ‘It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie’ I’ve been trying to sing like Slim Whitman my whole life. The Gun Club – ‘Preaching the Blues’ I’ve been trying to be in a band as great as The Gun Club my whole life. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club play Paradiso on Saturday, 7 May. WHAT’S ON. WHERE. WHEN. WHY.


Will this be an electronic music night without beats? Perhaps. The latest Viral Radio Festival is co-headlined by two titans of the contemporary ambient scene: Tim Hecker and Ben Frost. While rhythm and tones play key roles in the works of both musicians, abstract textures and layers of noise rule their sonic soundscapes. The electronic sound of Montreal-based Hecker has been evolving since 2001, gradually crossing over to wider audiences with Harmony in Ultraviolet (2006) and An Imaginary Country (2009) – impressively so for an artist who’s really not suited to a mixtape. Now he’s getting glowing reviews for one of his noisiest works: Ravedeath, 1972, the basis of which was recorded in a church in Iceland, with an organ shaking the building to its core. The finished studio piece is anything but organic, with studio twiddling aided by Australian artist Frost. Like Hecker, he’s been prodding away at the limits of noise/electronic/ambient crossover music, with his 2009 album By the Throat seeing his extreme noise escape the underground. While both are intriguing recording acts, it’ll be a real treat to feel the full impact of their music deep in the gut.


Paradiso (Grote Zaal), 19.30, €16.50 + membership

With her 2006 debut The Pirate’s Gospel, Alela Diane was definitely one of the best female vocalists to emerge from the freak folk scene (headed by prominent acts such as Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom). That record, with its spooky hush-hush storytelling and humble guitar playing, made her an easy genre companion, but Diane has barely stood still since. Her third album, Alela Diane & Wild Devine, marks her definitive departure from that scene, moving on up as a singer as well as a songwriter, embracing a richer and more vibrant band sound. Piano, strings, percussion and electric guitars have been added, while she allows her voice to float fearlessly on top. Managing to knot together the contradictory genres of pop and folk, she could even make you imagine an unlikely marriage of Madonna and Tom Waits. How’s that for a girl with a guitar? (LS) WWW.UNFOLDAMSTERDAM.NL

4 EN 5 MEI

Various locations and times

In recent years, while writing for various publications, I’ve been quick to send people out of town for various national festivities – Haarlem’s Bevrijdingspop frequently being the main musical celebration – but not much stands out this year apart from Frankie & the Heartstrings as the most interesting from a guitar pop perspective. So Amsterdam has been edging back and surely tops the cultural options for both the National Remembrance and Liberation Day festivals this year. The real highlights tonight include ‘Theater Na de Dam’, with theatres across town offering up diverse plays relating to WWII (CREAtheater, De Brakke Grond and Frascati have great options for ‘Language No Problem’ content too); plus there are historical film screenings at Kriterion, Tuschinski, EYE and Studio K. On 5 May, there are art exhibitions (such as Mediamatic’s Pièce de Résistance); Paradiso offers up the ‘Actie Lab’ to blend art with activism; there’s an open-air world music festival at Podium Mozaïek; the renowned classical concert on the Amstel, more diverse music stages on De Dam, Beursplein and Nesplein; and then further afterparties follow at Winston Kingdom, Studio 80 and Bitterzoet. Basically too much to cover here, but check our website for more information, as well as all the details in Dutch at


Muziekgebouw, 20.15, €23

While Amsterdam is home to numerous classical ensembles (young and old), few have such a multicultural outlook as the Atlas Ensemble. Not only is its musical cast a rich collaboration between musicians from China, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, the collection of instruments utilised reflects these diverse cultures – shakuhachi, duduk, sho, sheng and pipa, to name but a few. This means that their orchestral sound is immediately distanced from typically classical. Their latest programme is titled Imagine Utopia, and as the nation celebrates the importance of freedom, the ensemble will embrace its own musical independence, performing a selection of new works by Fabio Nieder (Germany), Francisco Castillo Trigueros (Mexico), Artjom Kim (Uzbekistan) and Stefano Pierini (Italy).

For all music visit: METRONOMY

Paradiso (Grote Zaal), 23.30, €10

Must confess, there was a moment of apprehension when we received the email that poster artist Lars Wannop had chosen Metronomy for his focus. Partly it’s that the band is playing at Noodlanding! and we’d rather be swallowed up by the ground than show our faces there. It’s also that the band’s early output has previously split opinions around the office – some adoring Joseph Mount’s quirky electro disco pop, while others were purely irritated. But as Wannop put it to us, Metronomy has a new way about them. In particular, they’re now acting and sounding like an actual band rather than a solo project. New album The English Riviera is inspired by classic synth pop, while also reminiscing about teenage house parties and getting stoned. Mount has also been talking a lot about the power of AOR melodies, obsessing over Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Wonder. The result is an album that touches base with his Devon upbringing and the pure pop of early Phoenix – and also one we can all get behind.


Bitterzoet, 20.30, €12 + membership

Husband and wife electro pop duo Dan Boekner and Alexei Perry are in love. Very much so. But, like most things these days, it’s complicated. On stage, this guitar-vox-keyboard combo are raw and in-your-face, messy, charmingly chaotic, yet very much in control – all things a good live show should be. Tattooed troubadour Boekner channels the best of The Boss while statuesque punkette Perry backs him up with beats that stand by her man. It’s raw, honest and delightful. It’s complicated. Like being in love. (While we’re quite enamoured with Handsome Furs – Perry’s high kicks and all – we should dutifully inform that the night is co-headlined by Brit electronic live noise crew Three Trapped Tigers. These boys are a bit mystical with their song titles, working mainly with numbers, but musically think 65daysofstatic gone disco.) (MB)

highlights 29 APRIL-12 MAY


Tongs ya bass! By Steven McCarron



t’s been a joke around the office for a few months already that Peter Mullan’s Neds, his third feature as writer and director, was going to feel more like a documentary to myself. A gritty portrayal of gangland violence and social mobility in 1970s Scotland, it’s certainly grim viewing at times. Although back in my hometown of Glasgow, some have embraced it as aspirational viewing, with security being required in certain screenings to quieten rival gangs who’d flocked to see it. Upon realising each other’s presence, they’d cause disruption with food fights and shout abuse across the aisles. Still, at least popcorn wars and insults are an improvement upon the extreme aggression captured in the film. The story is centred on the young John McGill (played in his early years by ten-year-old newcomer Greg Forrest and in his later teens by Conor McCarron – unrelated to myself, although his ‘70s haircut may suggest otherwise). Against all odds he WWW.UNFOLDAMSTERDAM.NL

emerges from primary school as a bright wee thing, brimming with politeness, good grades and ambitions of university. It’s against all odds because his big brother is a documented thug, his father (played by Mullan himself) is a drunken bully, his mother is downtrodden, and aggressive teachers, who’re reliant on belting and belittling pupils, refuse to believe he can escape his own a social background. True enough, McGill falls in with the wrong crowd, turning to cigarettes, booze and increasing levels of gang violence. Such a downward spiral isn’t surprising, but there’s no clean-cut moral to Mullan’s story. At times McGill can see his errors all too well, but he can’t escape his own demons, even suffering hallucinations of Christ before coming over all Taxi Driver in the finale. If you read Dutch, just be thankful that screenings here come packed with subtitles. While the look and feel successfully represents real 1970s Scotland, the strong performances of the young cast could be too genuine for anyone beyond Scottish borders – their thick accents and rapid-fire swearing take no prisoners. If that’s a problem, go fuck yersel ya wee cunt! Neds is released 28 April. WHAT’S ON. WHERE. WHEN. WHY.



While this superhero flick will lack the snark Robert Downey Jr brought to Iron Man, it’ll hopefully be less generic than the latest Hulk flick. Who knows, maybe this whole lead up to 2012’s The Avengers film/Joss Whedon nerdgasm will actually be an enjoyable blockbuster. Maybe even the 3D will work wonderfully and not cause headaches. And maybe, just maybe, Kenneth Branagh took his head out of his ass and directed a decent film. Maybe. (LvH)


A photographer agrees to escort his boss’s daughter back to the United States through Mexico. The catch: a satellite contaminated with alien bacteria crashed into Mexico some years ago and the country has become infested with alien life-forms. While it’s far from perfect, Monsters manages to inspire and impress, and is hopefully the first of a new wave of cutting-edge independent films. (LvH)

academics, Ferguson doesn’t take a sensationalist stance. He’s no Michael Moore, setting up stunts and pushing his ego. But the finished product, which almost feels like a rockumentary for the first few minutes, does owe much to Moore for making the documentary format accessible for mainstream cinema audiences. It’s just that Ferguson allows the protagonists to dig their own holes, as we see them shifting uneasily in their seats. Should you be laughing or crying come the end? Possibly both. It’s a great doc, but as it points out: ‘what’s changed?’ The same financial predators are still in power, so we’re all still screwed. (SM)



Not many comedies serve equally well as a good tearjerker, but this film about the collapse of the global financial system manages to do both, throwing in a hearty amount of realistic horror, too. Oh, and it’s a documentary! Charles Ferguson’s piece, narrated calmly by Matt Damon, deals with the complicated economics with relative ease and certainly doesn’t pull any punches when pointing the finger of blame. Interviewing politicians, financial ‘experts’, journalists and WWW.UNFOLDAMSTERDAM.NL


For more film visit:



An adaptation of the acclaimed sci-fi novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, about a dystopian future where clones are grown as organ donors for ‘real’ people. If you haven’t read the book and the plot is still ringing bells, you may have been unfortunate enough to see The Island. Thankfully this Anglo film has stronger source material and some great acting going for it (including Keira Knightley in her least pouty performance yet), as well as luscious cinematography. But the passive nature of the protagonists makes you wish they would’ve actually fought against their destiny along the lines of the iconic ending of If… (LvH)

on three notorious 20th century leaders: Hitler (Moloch), Lenin (Taurus) and Hirohito (The Sun). The latter was released in 2005 and screens here as part of Cavia’s ‘Slow Cinema’ programme. Reminiscent of the atmosphere of Downfall, it’s based upon Sokurov’s interpretations of the conversations the Japanese Emperor had with General Douglas MacArthur and the choices he faced in the final days of WWII. (SM)

One of Wes Anderson’s finest films, The Royal Tenenbaums revolves around a highly dysfunctional, yet in their own way loving, family of child prodigies, each coming to terms with the imminent death of their estranged patriarch. Whether you want to view it again because of the fantastic cinematography, the killer soundtrack, the near-perfect blend of comedy and drama, or because it boasts stellar performances by Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston and the Wilsons, or maybe even need to experience it for the very first time, you won’t be disappointed. (LvH)


THURSDAY 5, FRIDAY 6 MAY Cavia, 20.30

Russian director Alexander Sokurov was a friend of Tarkovsky and a stalwart of Soviet filmmaking. In 1999 he began work on a tetralogy focused

AMER To celebrate the release of the incredible ‘giallo’ film Amer, Melkweg is hosting an entire retrospective centred on this particularly Italian genre of horrors and thrillers. Amer directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani have made five cinematic studies of the genre, which will be screened alongside seven classic ‘giallo’ films. These include Dario Argento’s breakthrough The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace, as well as more outlandish supernatural titles such as Lucio Fulci’s House by the Cemetery and The Beyond. Even though Amer is a mesmerising film in itself, it’s fantastic to see this much effort surrounding its long awaited release. (LvH)

OTAKU! / オタク

TUESDAY 10 MAY OT301, 20.30

The second edition of OT301’s new evening that celebrates Japanese animation in all its shapes and forms. Tonight features a screening of Paprika, the mind-blowing animated masterpiece by the recently departed and sorely missed master animator Satoshi Kon, and then the long short Dead Leaves by Hiroyuki Imaishi. Paprika is a feast for the eyeballs, eardrums and frontal lobe, following a dream detective who has to guard the waking world from runaway nightmares. It was a definite influence on Inception and comes highly recommended! (LvH)

highlights 29 APRIL-12 MAY


TINKEBELL, Fifi (courtesy Torch Gallery Amsterdam)

All’s fair… By Monte Bergamont



ove them or hate them, art fairs are an important part of life for both artists and the galleries that represent them. The exposure can be immense, as galleries and prospective buyers from all over the world gather to view and to buy new works. Art Amsterdam (formerly Kunstrai) may not be the hippest fair on the scene, but now in its 27th year, and involving some 133 galleries from around the world, it remains important on a national art level. Emiel van der Pol, from long-term participants Torch Gallery, elaborates: ‘The importance of the fair to us is the contact it brings with the collectors. And, as the quality of the work differs so wildly, it’s a good overview of what the Dutch scene is up to.’ Another valuable element of the fair is that it’s now fully involving itself in the art world away from just the big money deals. There are workshops for budding collectors on viewing and buying art (‘Young & Collecting’), an extensive online collaboration and virtual art fair with WWW.UNFOLDAMSTERDAM.NL

and the intriguing ‘No Holds Barred’ event. For the latter, 12 selected artists will create works for a pre-determined 25m2 space. Provocative Dutch artist TINKEBELL (renowned for the cat purse) is one of the chosen winners and is represented by Torch. Inspired by online subcultures, moral codes and taxidermy, her art typically stands out from the crowd. ‘TINKEBELL’s work seemed to be perfectly suited for such an installation challenge,’ says Van der Pol. ‘You can expect some spectacular stuffed animals, strange low-resolution digital images and a lot of the TINKEBELL signature pink.’ Naturally, the purpose is still to showcase – and hopefully sell – work. Antoinette de Stigter, involved since the 1990s, first on the Selection Committee and now the Technical Committee, feels the financial crisis has taken its toll on the fair. ‘People are less eager to buy art, and galleries have to recalculate their budgets.’ Van der Pol agrees: ‘People seem to be less keen to make risky purchases. All in all there are less impulse buys. While this is in stark contrast to the pre-crisis days, it does, however, tend to stimulate the really dedicated collectors.’ Art Amsterdam, Amsterdam RAI, 11-15 May, €20 (discounts available online) WHAT’S ON. WHERE. WHEN. WHY.


Amsterdam RAI Hal 8, Europaplein 22 Open Wed 18.00-22.00, Thur-Sun 11.0019.00, Fri 11.00-21.00


Eerste Anjeliersdwarsstraat 3-5 Open Wed-Sat 13.00-18.00

ART AMSTERDAM 133 galleries from around the world exhibit contemporary and modern art in the largest art fair in the Netherlands. 11 May-15 May


Sandbergplein 1-3, Amstelveen Open Tues-Sun 11.00-17.00 CERAMICS FROM THE COBRA MUSEUM COLLECTION Surprise, surprise, ceramics from their collection. Until 8 May


Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 59 Open Tues-Sun 11.00-18.00

MIKA ROTTENBERG, Cheese (still) MIKA ROTTENBERG – DOUGH CHEESE SQUEEZE AND TROPICAL BREEZE Dutch premiere of surrealist video works (20032010) from the New York based artist. Until 8 May


Bloemgracht 2 Open Wed-Fri 11.00-18.00, first Sun of the month 12.00-17.00 FRODE BOLHUIS Sculptures inspired by stillness and vulnerability. Until 7 May WWW.UNFOLDAMSTERDAM.NL

CIOU, True Love Parade

CIOU – THE BLACK PARADE Lowbrow creepshow returns to the Jordaan courtesy of the French artist. Until 30 April

For more art, scan this or visit our website:


Rozengracht 77a Open Fri-Sat 13.00-17.00 and by appointment


Vijzelstraat 68 Opening times vary with exhibition

LASER 3.14, Wow Mao

PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE Mediamatic and Partizan Publik’s marketplace and archive for stories and objects of resistance. Until 26 June

LASER 3.14 – THIS COLD METAL FUTURE Highly recognised local street artist (love him or not) brings brand new work indoors. Until 21 May



Postjesweg 2 Open Mon-Fri 12.00-18.00 STOP DE VRIJHEID Sixty-six years after liberation, the state of Dutch freedom is debated. Features Myrthe Hilkens, Elma Drayer and Harun Yildirim. In Dutch. 5 May, 20.00


Keizersgracht 264 Open Tues-Fri 11.00–18.00, Sat and first Sun of the month 13.00-18.00 FROM INTERACTION TO MICRO-SOCIOLOGY Dutch and Chinese video art and its relationship with media presented as a combination of video, DIY, interactive, aural and visual experiences. Until 31 May

Warmoesstraat 139 Open daily for exhibit 09.00-18.00 and 20.30-23.00 ALLEGORIES OF GOOD AND BAD GOVERNMENT FOUR DAY DEBATE Four artists and four politicians stay four days in the exhibition space, discussing the relationship between their respective fields. 1 May-4 May


Lijnbaansgracht 288 Open Wed-Sat 13.00-18.00

highlights HINKE SCHREUDERS NOTHING BUT VIGIL AND NIGHT Embroidery plus from the Dutch artist. Until 7 May


featured artist Lars Wannop Lars keeps his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds.

unfold recommends bajesdorp festival, bajesdorp, 7 may

HoW BADLY Do YoU WAnt tHis oR AnY otHeR oF oUR PosteRs

wolf+lamb vs soul clap, trouw, 30 april

s a o Win tickets to FeAtUReD conceRts, PARties, FiLMs AnD MoRe: WWW.UnFoLDAMsteRDAM.nL/Win

You probably know what to do: //


sven-ole frahm, #97 untitled, aschenbach & Hofland galleries, opens 7 may

The Haiku Holiday Review. Queen’s day

the phantom four & the arguido, Paradiso, 12 may

Orange Queen eats cake, Imaginary birthday. Drinking all night through.

wHat’s on in amsterdam. volkskrantgebouw wibautstraat 150 1091 gr amsterdam

Unfold Amsterdam is printed on 100% recycled, 100% post-consumer waste paper. editors: steven mcCarron, russell Joyce Assistant editors: sarah gehrke, livia stier

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Design: russell Joyce Poster: lars wannop contributors: monte bergamont, lauren Comiteau, aquil Copier, sarah gehrke, luuk van Huët, steve korver, megan roberts, natalia sánchez, arun sood, livia stier, Şirin tuğbay. Printing: Zwaan Printmedia

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Music Alliance Pact On the 15th of every month, international bloggers and publications pick their fave new music from their local scene and share it with the world. Unfold’s Music Alliance Pact selection for April 2011 is Death Letters. Listen to them via our website, along with recommended new music from 34 other countries.

Unfold Amsterdam Poster 17 Volume 1

Lars Wannop

Unfold Amsterdam: Poster 17  

A poster publication inspired by the cultural scene in Amsterdam. Featuring a Metronomy poster, Slim Cessna's Auto Club interview, Neds revi...

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