Concert review and setlist: Bettie Serveert serves up Dutch rock at the Duck Room, Friday, October 22
Bettie Serveert, pioneer indie-rockers from Amsterdam, played the Duck Room on Friday night to an enthusiastic crowd of around 200. Kicking off the set with probably one of their most familiar songs, “Palomine,” the 4-piece band, including Carol van Dyk on vocals and guitar, Peter Visser on lead guitar, Herman Bunskoeke on bass, and newest member, Joppe Molenaar on drums, delivered top form performances. Van Dyk’s vocals came across crystal clear and Molenaar added a vigorous, powerful element to the band. He pounded tempos both speedy and slow, as van Dyk ripped her unmistakable voice over enthralling chord progressions that climb around noise and gorgeous melodies.
Van Dyk stood center stage with short, hyper-blonde bob, in a backless top that revealed her smooth, shapely arms, black mini, black tights. She is a front woman to be compared with the likes of Debbie Harry and Tanya Donelly.
My favorite moment of the night occurred when the band spun away from “Tom Boy” into an ambient, almost jazz piece. Van Dyk then wove some lines by Liz Phair (“Divorce Song” from Exile in Guyville) between the “wa-was” of floating guitars and intermittent cymbal crashes:
That it’s harder to be friends than lovers,
and you shouldn’t try to mix the two,
cause if you do and then you’re still unhappy,
then you know that the problem is you.
Brilliant. And a nice nod to Phair, fellow “Tom Boy.”
In concert, Bettie Serveert stays close to its recorded performances. Many of the songs sound just as I remembered them from when I first encountered this band in the early ’90s. The crowd danced and huddled near to center stage, as the band rocked out number after number. They closed the night with a 2-song encore, ending with perhaps their most well know song, “Kid’s Alright.” Van Dyk said that they played this one for the crowd – and how the crowd loved them.