Rotterdam is a city that is in constant motion, where nostalgia is frowned upon and the new is preferred over the old. The Netherlands’ second city prides itself on its state of the art architecture, its massive man-made Maasvlakte and its down to earth mentality. Recently, however, the city’s aptitude for progress has shown its drawbacks, with lots of social housing in working class areas making place for luxurious apartments, all under the guise of the city’s ‘Make It Happen’ branding. With an urgent as well as cynical live session, brand new post-punk band Tramhaus try their hardest to reclaim the slogan.
Tramhaus, concurrently, showcase how the city’s restlessness is reflected in its vibrant music scene. You would indeed be hard pressed to find a Rotterdam musician who is only involved in one project. This no-nonsense five piece, spearheaded by mullet sporting Lukas Jansen and named after an illustrious late night snack paradise opposite Rotterdam’s famed Buttplug Gnome, is made up of members of emo folk outfit Nagasaki Swim, unpolished punk quartet Pig Frenzy, and wayward noise duo Vulva. The band’s untameable energy is also reminiscent of Iguana Death Cult, who released their 2019 sophomore album Nude Casino on renowned Los Angeles label Innovative Leisure and most certainly are one of the great Rotterdam bands of the past years.
This community is fostered by Rotterdam’s venue structure, in which One Venue To Rule Them All but lots of smaller underground venues like 100-capacity Roodkapje, where Tramhaus recorded five fiery tracks for this debut live session. Such venues both specialise in their own subcultures and come together to make sure Rotterdam remains one of the most exciting cities for music in The Netherlands. A recent key player in this pursuit is Left of the Dial Festival, run by pop venue Rotown. In October, the line-up of its third physical edition will feature emerging UK acts like The Cool Greenhouse, English Teacher, and Mandrake Handshake, amongst many others. With their inaugural live session, Tramhaus – who are booked by Left of the Dial as well – prove they will fit right in.
Photo by Quilla van Lieshout
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