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Heineken Music Hall

I finally got to check this place out for a jazz concert. I was expecting a sophisticated venue with comfortable seating and good acoustics. What I found was something else...

My first icky, sticky step into the auditorium was a forerunner of things to come. Rather than having the seats out on the floor, they had chosen to clear the floor, no doubt to pack more people into the hall, to make more money.

Before the concert started, the seats in the remaining stands in the back were already completely full. So we had no choice but to stand on the rubberized floor for the entire concert. This wouldn't be so bad I guess, despite paying 30 Euros apiece, but unfortunately the floor was nothing more than a pool of beer, or rather beer from the last concert, drying and sticking to everything. It seems rather than actually cleaning the floor, the beer just gets pushed around so it dries more evenly. The last thing you would want to do is try to sit on this floor. You might never get up!

Still the concert had not even begun, and I was already having doubts about this venue. At last the band came out, and much to their credit, they were excellent. I could almost forget about the floor, and the beer... But then we tried moving around as our view wasn't great. Next thing I know I'm standing in a huge puddle of beer. In fact by the middle of the concert, the puddles were everywhere. Not to mention the plastic beer cups being underfoot. I remember one really soft passage of music, where the artist was doing a very moving solo...you could almost hear a pin drop, then CRUNCH! Another plastic cup solo as counterpoint.

Yup, a real sophisticated venue! I spent almost as much time checking out what was going on underfoot as I did paying attention to the music! Now I know why they call it the "Heineken" Music Hall... Just one visit and you're wearing "Heineken" all over your shoes.

I'm truly impressed with the wide range of music and the sheer quantity available in Amsterdam. But the venues in this town REALLY SUCK! I think the powers that grant these venues licenses really need to get out and experience the way other cities host events.

I'm tired of being smoked out, pushed around, caught in endless queues, stuck behind 8 ft tall Dutchmen, unable to see anything! Then to have trash piled up around my feet, beer soaking into my shoes, incessant chatter drowning out the music, and to PAY good money for all this "pleasure"... FUCK IT!

I may just give up on live music altogether, or go to a more "civilized" place to find real culture... If you don't mind being treated like another piece of trash on the floor, then this is the venue for you... It's really too bad, because this venue books some of the more popular acts that come to Amsterdam. While hard core punks & clubbers might willing to put up with this shit, jazz enthusiasts like me will just have to go elsewhere for entertainment. Why must every venue suffer from the club scene mentality?

I'm surprised the architect didn't just draw a huge beer can. It would've been much more appropriate.

The HMH is just south of Amsterdam near the Arena. With an advertised 5,500 "seats" (if you're lucky, otherwise it's only about 1,200 seats or the beer swamp - bring your clogs!) it's bigger than any hall in Amsterdam, and the acoustics are good, but not great. If there were some other redeeming features to this place, I'm sorry, but they got drowned out by Heineken beer...

More Info:

Added: June 19th 2002
Reviewer: Skip
Related Link: Heinken Music Hall Website
Hits: 7987


Posted by Anonymous on 2003-07-11 07:26:11
My Score:
Well as an avid REM fan I was determined to follow the band on the European leg of their 2003 tour and acquired a ticket to this venue. I had never heard of it and struggled to find info on the web. Those comments I did find were quite negative but I personally think them a bit harsh. The Heineken Music Hall compares well with say Brixton Academy or venues of a similar size. First job is finding it. From Central Station take the underground and alight at the station just beyond the famous Amsterdam Arena (home of Ajax). Actually its located between two stations but the one beyond the Areana is the closest. Dont ask me to pronounce it but it starts with a 'B'. Not much else on the line states with B so you cant go wrong, even with my bland description. The venue requires you to purchase tokens from a kiosk. The bars and sellers indoors acept nothing else, so its a bit annoying to find yourself waiting twice over. The venue has a bar, minimal seating (to the rear) but it is possble to stand at the bar and view the act on stage which I like. Heineken is obviously the only brew on sale. The acoustics are not good and I thought it interesting that even Michael Stipe asked the question on stage, "Do you like this venue?" and "Are you hearing me OK?" He made some other quip but the proud Amsterdamers were not about to respond with a yes or cheer and he moved on to another song. I was not complaining.

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