NDSM Crane, Amsterdam North
When the word Amsterdam is mentioned, most associate the city with windmills, unpractical wooden footwear, or an abundance of marijuana. Others, the various flower markets or the streets laden with fluorescent red lighting. But the real reason for the capital’s establishment was the dock, which has now been renovated into the upcoming Amsterdam North area – a popular destination for the more niché groups who enjoy over-priced locally brewed beer and second hand thrift markets. On the site of Ijhallen, the biggest flea market in Europe, just right of a graffiti-covered derelict submarine, lies the NDSM crane – the 60 person venue that this particular evening was hosting Konstantin Sibold in the warm-up to Oranjebloesem festival.
Originally built to hoist massive shipping vessels out of the water after the voyage to the waters of North Holland, the NDSM crane has since been procured by a hospitality company – with three small chambers being added to the central structure and converted into hotel rooms – the most expensive stay in Amsterdam supposedly. Reserved usually for the richest tourists, the metal structure was handed back over to the people of Amsterdam for this particular Friday night, with the select few managing to grab tickets through an online RSVP format.
Ascending the massive metal staircase, following the sound of pounding kick drums, it felt almost like the crane was still in action – apart from the only thing industrial tonight was the structure itself and the pulsating techno echoing out of the metal chamber that the main room was hosted in. After passing through a door which can only be described as looking like some kind of air lock, with a port-hole for added crane-authenticity – we stumbled into the packed, smoke-filled room, as Konstantin Sibold took to the decks.
Stuggart born Sibold, who gained affinity with the club Rocker 33 after launching his Common Sense People events, has racked up an impressive collection of releases on Mute Records, German label Kompakt and Innervisions. Not only being an institution for underground music in his homeland Germany, his DJ sets are both adventurous and creative – and tonight was no exception. Working his way through smooth house grooves, laying down the Aaron Carl remix of Hardlife by Underground Resistance, he set the tone for the start of the set – working with the sound that the previous DJ’s had established in the room when the clock hit 12am. Once the room had filled for the pinnacle of the evening, Sibold began moving further into driving techno. Sights set on giving the sub-base on the system a run, noticeable highlights were Sibold letting rip with Silent Space by Tale Of Us, in which the crisp rolling hi-hats kept the dancefloor moving and Onyx by Heiko Laux – with its acid synthesiser line shaking the room suspended 50ft above the Amsterdam docks.
A short-but-sweet set left the punters in the venue wanting more – but this session was just the starter, with the main course being served on Kings Day, 27th April, featuring Bicep, áme, Optimo and Michael Mayer to name a few. Both the venue, coupled with the stunning view from the huge window behind the DJ booth and the intimate crowd, led for an interesting and engaging event. It’s not every day you get to experience a cities night-life culture in such a unique and distinct location as this one – and regardless of the evening being a PR stunt or not – the party lived up to all the hype it promised to deliver.