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I recently spent a few days in wonderful Amsterdam. On Sunday evening, me and some friends went to Café Kobalt on Singel, in the vicinity of central station. It’s a rather large café (at least for Amsterdam standards) with a decent variety of beers (I recommend the Westmalle Dubbel, a very dark and malty trappist beer) and a large menu, which unfortunately we weren’t able to sample.
When we arrived at about five in the evening, the place was packed to the last seat, with people standing in the free spaces, small children running around, and dogs sitting between the feet of their owners, and moisture condensing on the window panes. As evidenced from the birthday cake and a table with presents, someone must have celebrated his birthday that evening – or rather her birthday? The “Sex and the City” boxed dvd set lends credence to that theory, but we never found out.
The Kobalt also hosts concerts every Sunday, and to my delight, a band called “Hot Club de Frank” was playing. They play swing, gypsy jazz and klezmer, with a lineup consisting of lead guitar, rhythm guitar, double bass, saxophone and violin. The name itself is a giveaway as regards their repertoire, of course.
I must have made rather boring company that evening: I liked the music so much that I spent most of the time listening, even though people were chatting away around me. It’s something I like to call “handmade music” – plain good music, with musicians who quite clearly enjoy themselves, and with a minimum of amplification.
I bought two of their CDs after the show. When I came home, I found out that one of them was badly scratched. This must have happened during manufacturing, as I hadn’t even taken it out of its plastic wrapping yet. But a quick email to the band solved this problem: Frank (as in “Hot Club de Frank", of course) immediately offered to send me a replacement CD. Great service!