I guess I was lucky. Wednesday evening is band practice, but was cancelled. Time to check out one of my favourite Dutch bands of the past 20 years. Over the decades I lost count how many times I saw them play. At least six times, but that is 2007 - 2013. Before that? I just can't remember.
Bettie Serveert is touring behind one of its best and most urgent albums. 'Oh, mayhem!' is a great album. One of the very best albums released in 2013 so far. (Click here for the review.) With HareD's "cry of love" published two weeks ago (click here), the Betties are on this blog for the third time this year. And quite rightly so. In my review of 'Pharmacy of love' and the show following that album, which I saw twice, in WoNo Magazine, I already mentioned that adding (ex?)Voicst drummer Joppe Molenaar to the line-up injected a boost of energy and oomph to the band, that made it sound like a band of teenagers. What his role really is, is hard to tell from the outside, but there's no denying the energy Bettie Serveert gives to the world, propelled forward by its new drummer.
To be honest, at most shows I'm looking at Peter Visser playing his guitars. In my humble opinion he's one of the best guitarists I know. One with his instrument, creating great sounds, incredibly tasteful lead lines, finding every relevant note within a chord to play, fast paced rhythm accents and all within a few seconds. On stage Visser is larger than life. So I decided to watch the other band members a little more this time.
The show started off with a film clip of 'Monogamous', the song that really stands out on 'Oh, mayhem!' Guitar sound scapes and feedback that Carol van Dijk sings over. Slowly Visser started to play along, before the band exploded into 'Receiver'. Loud, louder, loudest! Setting the pace for the evening. Bettie Serveert was indie rocking out in the LVC. How good 'Oh, mayhem!' is, was proven by the fact that all the songs fitted perfectly with the songs from the band's back catalogue. It may well be that 'The kid's alright' may not be the signature song to end shows with, 'Receiver' can do that trick also.
Bettie Serveert is a tight unit. Bass player Herman Bunskoeke is always looking cool, laying a foundation that allows him to go off on bass runs as well, adding melody to several songs, while Carol van Dijk plays a tight rhythm guitar on a beautiful black and white Rickenbacker. Together they allow Peter Visser to be all over the place, weaving his guitar around the song, the melody, the vocals and all territories beyond. At the same time Bettie Serveert has so much routine that it allows the band to be playful as well. Not all is serious any more.
If I have to put down some critique. The most important one is they don't play The Velvet Underground's 'What goes on' any more. Who else does if Bettie Serveert doesn't do it? The other is that harmony vocals are sometimes missed. The cameo of support act Djurre de Haan of awkward i showed what wonders a good harmony can do in 'Had2b you', as surprise in the encore. But if this all?
In short: fireworks in LVC on Wednesday 13 March 2013. Bettie Serveert is at the top of its game and everyone pining for 'Palomine' (and yes there were a lot of those around showing true happiness on their 21 year older faces), better open their ears. 'Oh, mayhem!' is better, a lot better, says
You can order 'Oh, mayhem!' here