Paradiso in Amsterdam is one of the most well-known concert halls in the world. Back in 1968 the former church was converted into a space with a stage. But without the rise of the punk movement in 1977, Paradiso would probably never have been able to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018. The Paradiso Punk Years is an ungoing series of booklets in which Amsterdam based music journalist Oscar Smit describes the history of punk in Paradiso.
Part 1 mainly focuses on 1977. That particular year marked a turning point for the venue. Due to gigs by The Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Stranglers, Paradiso gradually transformed into the temple of punk.
In the period preceding 1977, the venue was inhabited by hash smoking hippies that lay scattered about the floor. Amongst them a lot of hippies from nearby Germany, called ‘Paasduitsers’ by the Paradiso staffmembers (traditionally a lot of Germans come to Amsterdam around Easter). Because of the ever increasing number of punk concerts, the nature of the audience changed dramatically. Most of the punk concerts were sold out and Paradiso, previously facing financial problems and even closure, flourished by these developments.Part 2 describes how in 1978 Paradiso turned into the temple of ‘Nederpunk’, by clearing the stage for an impressive 56 Dutch bands. Panic, Flyin’ Spiderz and Ivy Green are only a few examples of bands that made their appearance that period. As off September that year Paradiso introduced D-Day, a weekly event with two Dutch punk bands on the bill. D-Day grew into a major phenomenon of the Dutch punk scene. By this time, every band wanted to play in Paradiso. Slowly the club started to attract a new and steady core of visitors, who became known as the Paradiso punks. These youngsters, roughly between the ages of 14-18, often lived in squats and considered Paradiso to be their second home.
Part 3 shows how punk music started to differentiate in the course of 1979. Post-punk and new wave emerged as variants of the DIY punk attitude. Gang Of Four and The Only Ones played in Paradiso, as well as punk poet John Cooper Clarke. Thanks to the rise of the punk movement, the year end showed a new and extensive musical offer. Paradiso followed these developments up close and the venue was ready for a brand new decade: the eighties! The developments in this period will be described in the upcoming parts of “The Paradiso Punk Years”.
De Paradiso Punkjaren Deel 1: 1977, De Oerknal
(The Paradiso Punk Years Part 1: 1977, The Big Bang)
De Paradiso Punkjaren Deel 2: 1978, Jaar Van De Nederpunk
(The Paradiso Punk Years Part 2: 1978, The Year of ‘Nederpunk’)
De Paradiso Punkjaren Deel 3: 1979, Opkomst Van New Wave, Post-punk En Poëzie
(The Paradiso Punk Years Part 3: 1979, The Rise of New Wave, Post-punk and Poetry)
Oscar Smit: De Paradiso Punk Jaren. Three Volumes.
Amsterdam: Black Olive Press 2020.
All booklets are provided with an index and list of punk concerts. They are printed with a Risoprinter and have a limited edition.
All three parts are online available at the Paradiso Webshop.