Founder and CEO Justin Kniest had been working with Dutch venues Paradiso and Melkweg for years as a producer before collaborating with the two concert halls in 2000 to create an abundant archive of the diverse, globetrotting bands that play for their audiences in the Netherlands. Since then, Fabchannel has picked up numerous awards from the local organizations like Prix Europa and Spin to international validations like the 2006 Webby Award for Best Music Website, each complimenting the site’s excellent design and excellent content.
As the tagline goes, “We record, you choose.” And wow, there is a lot to choose. Fabchannel’s archive includes hundreds of well-known and not so well-known bands performing at their best. The video quality is high and performances are separated into clips by song. So, if you’ve been longing to see White Cowbell Oklahoma perform its song “Shot a Gamblin Man” in a Dutch venue – and I know you have – you can jump right to that specific performance. There’s American rock classics, British pop bands, reggaeton, and contemporary Arabic bands. For an English-speaking audience, some of the recognizable names include John Cale, Lily Allen, Audio Bullys, Bright Eyes, Andrew Bird, Josh Ritter, and British Sea Power, among many others. Unfortunately, Fabchannel doesn’t have individual links to individual performances, so to find what you want, you’re going to have to explore the site. And make sure you do, because there’s more than enough content here for any user to discover and appreciate at least one new group. If you register for a free account, you can also make your own playlist of favorite performances and watch them in a loop at your convenience. I can’t say enough about the website, either. Beyond being incredibly easy to maneuver and containing a really well-written blog, it’s fast-loading and designed to trendy minimalist perfection.
With so many acts available for viewing and each video being of such excellent quality, it would be stupid to suggest one over the other. Look for what you like. You’re bound to find it. The one unexpected series of videos that I would recommend watching are Paradiso’s annual Dutch Air Guitar Championship, which are endlessly fun and hilarious and usually have around twenty competitors strumming for the much-wanted title of Dutch Air Guitar Champion.