The Rotterdam festival runs over three days to showcase new acts from across Europe and further afield.
Words by Karl Johnson
With the summer festival calendar well and truly extending into September nowadays, October brings about the opportunity to tour for new artists. Left Of The Dial festival, started by Rotown in 2018, was created to maximise the exposure of new artists following a cramped Autumn/ Winter schedule, with the more established artists usually stealing the limelight from newer talent. The festival offers three unmissable days of new music, staged between a fistful of Rotterdam’s grassroots venues and alternative spaces. We’ve chosen 10 acts we’re excited to see over the long weekend.
Amsterdam/ Toronto outfit Baby’s Berserk have crafted a new window into rave music, they combine haunting vocal harmonies and ice-cold synths to dramatic effect – complete with bass grooves and percussion that will have your hips on autopilot on the dancefloor. Listen to Baby’s Berserk.
KIEFF are a four-piece from Leiden/ Rotterdam, they sit on the more raucous and heavy side of art-rock, with gang shouts and sharp instrumental left turns they’re bound to excite and make you chuckle in equal measure. Listen to KIEFF. Hailing from Woodstock, New York THE BOBBY LEES make dark-hearted, scuzzy garage rock, it’s abrasive, in your face and loud, they sound like a mixture of The Amazing Snakeheads (RIP) and the The Kills. Listen to THE BOBBY LEES. Born in Auckland, formed in Sydney and now based in Berlin, meet Dead Finks. Their darker moments echo the ferocity of Strange House era-The Horrors and/ or the crazed circus that was The Birthday Party. Listen to Dead Finks. Global Charming are opening the festival, it shows the love for the Amsterdam group, who’s guitar parts are as sharp as their lyrical wit. With wonky synthesizers and repetitive rhythms they’re one of a few bands really pushing the post-punk envelope. Listen to Global Charming.
Belgian band The Guru Guru move between alternative rock and noise with a unique storytelling, they shift tempo with ease and move with a razor-sharp precision. Vocally unstoppable and melodically hooky-as-hell, the band bring a unrivalled tension to the stage. Listen to The Guru Guru. HEISA work in rhythms, atmosphere and tension – vocals act like an extra instrument. The Belgian band paint sonic landscapes and soundtrack chaos and disaster with every step. Listen to HEISA. From the fine city of Rotterdam arrive Kalaallit Nunaat, they play high-octane alternative rock with noise influences and it’s anthemic and as hooky as hell. Listen to Kalaallit Nunaat. Danish quartet Yung‘s new album arrived in January of this year, the songwriting and storytelling was criminally underrated and the record was one to hold dear. The band meld the awkward art-rock of bands like Ought with the unbridled energy of punk, with unlikely math-y melodies. Listen to Yung. French act Unschooling create pent-up post-punk like no other, it’s strangely spacious and considered yet manic and otherworldly in the same breathe. Listen to Unschooling.