A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
As a concert person, I feel quite ashamed to admit that I’ve never been to a concert here in Den Haag. Yep, I’ve been to Utrecht, Amsterdam, and even Groningen for concerts, yet I’ve never been to a local concert. As far as Den Haag is considered as one of the biggest cities in the Netherlands, and of course one of the most famous cities, somehow, most bands usually skip Den Haag on their tour. I’m really not sure about the real reason – is Den Haag more of an electronica city? Or the music scene here is just not that good? Too few college students and too much expats? I really don’t know why. (However, Den Haag does offer good music festivals every year, from Crossing Border to State-X, but for me, that’s it.)
As a non-Christian Chinese, I don’t celebrate Christmas. (Oh come on, anyway, most Chinese people celebrate consumerism, not Christmas.) So I didn’t go back to China, or go on a vacation. I decided to stay at home for some cozy winter nights with hot tea and movies, until I found that Jacco Gardner will have a concert down here in Den Haag on 27th. Two best things if you like a Dutch artist and if you live in the Netherlands: 1. They have concerts right after Christmas; 2. They tour around the Netherlands, small cities included.
Without taking a train to another city means I don’t have to spend much time on the road, or looking for the right direction. It only took me about twenty minutes to walk to the venue. The concert was at Paard van Troje (it means “horse of Troy”. Quite cool, huh?), not far from Spui, right near Paardcafe. One thing I immediately love about Paard van Troje is their lockers. Yes, self-service lockers! Instead of long lines for wardrobe. Not only did I need a locker for my coat, but also for the books I picked up in central library on my way there (talking about benefits of going to a concert right near home).
The room for the concert was quite small. I don’t know if it’s their only room, or just the “kleine zaal”. But it’s nice, like any other venues I’ve been to. A bar included at the back of the room, and also a second floor if you want a better view.
The support act is another Dutch band called Earth Mk. II. They play nice indie music. I was quite surprised to see the lead vocal was the drummer (not exactly a frontman, a “backman” rather). Although they sang in English, they spoke Dutch to the audience. Okay, it really doesn’t matter if you don’t understand Dutch, as long as you understand the Dutch equivalent of “two more songs until Jacco Gardner”.
Around nine o’clock, Jacco Gardner and his band came up onto the stage. The whole performance was amazing – everyone seemed to be enjoying it; the old, sometimes weird, but absolutely fascinating film shown on the screen (I spent half of the time staring at the screen, instead of the band). They played songs from Jacco’s debut album, “Cabinet of Curiosities”. Go have a listen if you haven’t yet heard of it.
Right after the encore, I went straight back without waiting for the band. The Strokes on almost full blast was always the best company home. It had been raining for a whole day, but when I came out of Paard van Troje, the roads were almost dry. In Den Haag Centraal, I got a stuk of hot frites, and some oranges from Albert Heijn.
Fully satisfied mentally and physically, I was ready to go back home, have a nice cup of tea and read The Hobbit.
1. Paard van Troy http://www.paard.nl/ They have quite a lot of free activities and sometimes really nice bands. I might go there again for Thurston Moore in February.
2. Supermarkt http://www.supermarktdenhaag.nl/ Another nice concert venue in Den Haag. Never been there before, but it seems nice.