If you’re a music fan, you’ve come to the right place. Utrecht boasts several good music venues where you can listen to music in all shapes and sizes: from pop, indie and metal to jazz, classical and rock.
By Dieuwke de Boer
In general, Utrecht is a really good city to discover new music. EKKO, the intimate music venue in the heart if the city centre, is well known for having an eye for (inter)national talent. Back in 2003, Franz Ferdinand performed in EKKO for a small crowd of barely fifty people. A few months later, the now immensely popular Scottish band came back to Utrecht. The tickets to this show were sold out in no time. So be sure to check out who is playing in EKKO when you’re in town, because it might be the next best thing! Before visiting a concert, you can even grab a bite to eat in their newly refurbished café.
The first building that catches your eye when you arrive in Utrecht, probably will be TivoliVredenburg. With its remarkable architecture, the largest music venue in Utrecht consists of five halls, each designed for a specific music genre. From classical music, chamber music and jazz to pop, rock and dance: the possibilities for a great night out are endless here. And besides that, the café downstairs serves food and drinks all day and is a good place to meet friends or work.
If you’re looking for something more underground, you should head a bit further afield. The music venue dB’s, next to Zuilen Station, hosts at least two live concerts a week and has several rehearsal rooms, in case you want to have a go yourself. Especially if you’re a fan of punk rock, black metal or rockabilly, this is your place to be. And while you’re there, you could even pop in next door for a craft beer at brewery Oproer.
And that’s not all: several cafés in Utrecht regularly host a free music night. One of these places is ‘t Oude Pothuys. In this unique café on Oudegracht, with its barrel vaulted walls and ceiling, you can listen to live music almost every night. Another good hangout is Café Stathe on Rozenstraat. After having dinner, move to the intimate area at the back for some of the newest music Utrecht has to offer. And after the gig, the DJ will take over from the band to keep you going on the dance floor. Other good cafés to walk in and check out what’s on, are Café Tilt (Lange Jufferstraat 62) and Hofman Café (Janskerkhof 17a).
Le Guess Who?
One music festival, twenty-one locations
The must-go-to event in Utrecht for discovering experimental, out of the box music definitely is Le Guess Who?, that will take place from 10 till 13 November. The festival combines burgeoning talent with legendary, one-of-a-kind acts in venues ranging from churches and galleries to theatres and pop venues. Exploring the city will feel like a treasure hunt for the next great band. For the festival’s 10th Anniversary Edition, Le Guess Who? invited four artists, Wilco, Savages, Julia Holter and Suuns, to curate their own programs within the festival. This results in the most impressive line-up in ten years: from Grammy-nominated Bassekou Kouyaté and Ngoni Ba (hailed as the Jimi Hendrix of the ancient West African ngoni instrument), Dinosaur Jr and post-rock experimentalists Tortoise to I Speak Machine, the audio visual collaboration between vocalist and synth-nerd Tara Busch and filmmaker Maf Lewis. And on top of that, Radiohead-guitarist Jonny Greenwood performs with the Indian ensemble The Rajasthan Express. On Saturday afternoon, during the free festival Le Mini Who?, you’ll have the chance to discover emerging Dutch talent in record stores, coffee bars, cafés, fashion stores and (art)galleries in and around Voorstraat. On Sunday, Le Mini Who? continues on Ooster- en Westerkade.
> 10 till 13 November, various locations