Amsterdam formed in 1999. The original members were Ian Prouse (guitar, vocals), Pete O’Connor (percussion), Paul Hagan (Bass), Kevin Spurgeon (Keyboard), Johnny Barlow (guitars) and Anna Jenkins (violin).
A year after forming, the band won a competition sponsored by NME magazine to find the best band without a record deal.
In September 1999, the band won a prize at the In the City event in Manchester, and set up by the late music impresario Tony Wilson.
By the end of the year, Billy Bragg asked the band to support him on his tour.
Sonic One Studio
The year 2000 was an exciting step in the bands development. They embarked on their first tour called “Nostalgia – Don’t do It”. They also began the recording of their first album.
The LP was recorded at Sonic One studios, Kidwelly, Wales. “Attitunes” was critically hailed in many quarters. The track was only available for download via the Amsterdam website.
In March of 2001, the bands song “It Hurts” appeared on the EMI compilation album Mersey Boys & Liverpool Girls. Other artists featured on the compilation included The La’s, Echo & the Bunnymen and Elvis Costello. Upon hearing the band at the album launch party, Elvis Costello invited them to support him. This was at Amsterdam, Holland,
during his world tour.
The band released the single “Love Phenomenon” in the autumn of 2001 on the indie label Weena. The single secured them their first performance on radio with Janice Long on BBC Radio 2.
Jonathan Ross show on BBC 1
January brought the bands first television appearance. The band Performed with Elvis Costello on the Jonathan Ross show on BBC 1. 2002 also brought the bands second album, ‘The Curse’ released through the band’s website.
In October 2003, the band then went about a reshuffle. Genevieve Mort left the band and Paulie Hagan brought in to play bass guitar. In the reshuffle, lead guitar was now played Johnny Barlow.
One of the standout tracks from The Curse, “Does this Train Stop on Merseyside?” It was played by John Peel and charts in Peel’s Festive Fifty. The single “The Journey” was released soon after, reaching at #32 in the UK chart. This was after the band signed up with Beat Crazy Records.
“Does this Train Stop on Merseyside?” was also the band first pop video.
However, after almost two years spent with Beat Crazy, the band left the label by mutual consent. This was not before the album ‘The Journey’ was released nationwide and the song “Does this Train Stop on Merseyside?” was added to BBC Radio 2 playlist.
Arm in Arm album released
In December 2006 Anna Jenkins joins the band as a violinist. This was as the band pressed ahead with plans for their new live album 1, 2, 3, 4.
Their latest studio album ‘Arm in Arm’ was released in March 2008. It was lavished with some of the best critical reviews of the band’s career. They also played some of their biggest gigs as part of the Capital of Culture celebrations in Liverpool.
The band continue to gig and added drummer Deian Elfryn in May 2008 to replace Pete O’Connor. He joined just before the band played that summers Glastonbury festival.
Amsterdam’s Official website.