Music & concerts

Home-grown music

It’s no secret that lots of good music is made in and around Utrecht. So which singles, EPs and albums can we expect this summer? Here are seven gems to look forward to.

text: Machiel Coehorst
photography: Joy van den Berg

La Belle Époque

Two years ago, Danny van Tiggele (former guitarist with Mister and Mississippi) released his first album under the name La Belle Époque: Volume 1. He wrote the songs himself, but they were performed by a guest musician. The next album is due in November, but the first single, Back where I belong/Take it slow, has already been released. Maurits Westerik (former singer with GEM and Bewilder, currently director of Best Kept Secret) took care of the vocals. If this melodic guitar song is anything to go by, La Belle Époque’s second album is one to look out for, including the contributions from Tim Knol, Robin Kester, Cato van Dijck (My Baby) and Spike (DI-RECT).


In a packed dB’s in April, Bowl won the final of the Utrecht Clash of the Titans band battle. The five band members were presented with their prize money by the alderman for culture, Eva Oosters. Bowl’s hyperactive, crazy post-punk sound generated a mosh pit on the floor. To quote the jury report, it was ‘well-organised chaos’. Options, variables, shapes and angles is the first single released by this Utrecht band, which was formed at the Herman Brood Academy. Before every show, the band members shout: ‘I wanna go bowling!’ followed by: ‘Fuck it dude, let’s go bowling’, from the film classic The Big Lebowski.

Vic Willems

In 2016, Vic Willems’ serene Dutch-language music won him the ‘Grand Prize of the Netherlands’. He gives us minor songs on major themes, without sounding in the least bit pathetic. His debut album, Doemdenker/Wonderkind, was released in 2020 and in May of this year, he released his second album: Wachten tot het fout gaat. Like many of his song titles, this one, which translates as Waiting until it goes wrong, doesn’t paint a particularly joyful picture of the world. His debut also includes a nice cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game (Niet vallen), which is possibly even more understated than the original.


He named his last album after the primal scream of rock-‘n’-roll. This isn’t exactly the typical reflective genre of pop that you’d expect from Spinvis, but in the AD Utrecht newspaper, Erik de Jong gives a logical explanation: ‘It’s about the pure pleasure of a word that means something, even if you don’t quite know what. There’s not much point trying to understand my lyrics.’ Be-Bop-A-Lula is a bit more cheerful than its predecessor and it’s full of clever pop songs and associative lyrics, all created in the ‘Tingle tangle cranium’ of Erik de Jong.

Bas Beenackers

Utrecht-based musician Bas Beenackers and his band My Blue Van produced four strong albums with gritty, yet soulful, rock, all led by his gravelly vocals and impassioned guitar playing. His first solo EP Man shows a different, surprisingly understated, almost spiritual side to Bas. Folk and americana now seem to be the foremost influences. Playing acoustic guitar, with a serene voice and wind instruments in the background, Beenackers sings about love, comfort and desire.

Juno Rena

The Amersfoort Juno Rena creates bouncy, infectious Dutch-language electropop, reminiscent of the music of MEROL, with lyrics that are just that little bit more explicit and gloomier. The inspiration for her debut EP Circus van Schande came from the character Laura Palmer (from the nineties cult series Twin Peaks), Alice in Wonderland and Britney Spears.

STACH& Tano Rivers

This duo already got to know each other in high school, but it would take another ten years before starting a musical collaboration. They are currently working on their collab album 86, named after the house number of their studio on Kanaalweg. The promising singles Mersmerized, Stay and Okay have already been released and listened to many times. Their sound is characterised by the badass beats and catchy, soulful choruses. You can check out some of their music videos on YouTube.


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