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Friday, February 11th, 2005

Kid's Alright

Without actually doing calculations, I think I can say that Bettie Serveert is possibly the band I’ve been a fan of the longest without ever seeing live. I first got their sophomore record Lamprey way back in the Summer of 1995, and was hooked ever since – yet have never caught them on tour. Granted, there haven’t been many opportunities since they’re based out of the Netherlands and really don’t come through town much, but still – a decade is a long time. Well I’m happy to say that was rectified last night at the Horseshoe where they played in support of their sixth album, Attagirl, and in grand fashion. No one ever told me they were so good live!

The show had been advertised in the local weeklies as “90s Alternative Rock” but anyone who showed up hoping for a blast from the past was likely disappointed. The band drew exclusively on their last three albums (though mainly the last two) for the first three quarters of the set before venturing back to their debut Palomine for “Tom Boy” (they eventually played three Palomine songs, nothing from Lamprey or Dust Bunnies). Actually, I would hope those folks weren’t disappointed because those last three albums contain some really strong material which translated even stronger in a live setting. Whereas the albums leaned more toward the tasteful side, on stage they embraced the chaos and rocked out wholeheartedly – more than a few songs in the one hour, forty-five minute set turned into frenzied, extended jams. I honestly hadn’t expected the Betties to be quite so high-energy, but was pleasantly surprised. They did mix up the dynamic of the set some with a few slower and more groove-oriented numbers, but it was the rockers that came across best (and were actually the better songs, even on record).

Guitarist Peter Visser was most animated, leaping all over the stage while spewing copious Young/Mascis-approved guitar leads… a note to anyone going to see them later on this tour – watch out if you find yourself standing in front of Visser. When he stands at the edge of the stage and waves his guitar around, he’s swinging for the fences. Singer/guitarist Carol van Dijk also proved she has one of the more distinct voices in indie rock, equal parts husky and sweet, world-weary and naive. I thought she sounded splendid. And bassist Herman Bunskoeke is a large, sweaty man whose shirt seemed to open up further as the night went on. The man is hirsute, let’s leave it at that.

van Dijk estimated it had been nine years or so since they had last been in our fair town – an absolute crime, that. I was glad to see that they drew a pretty healthy crowd to the ‘Shoe, particularly since there hadn’t been a whole lot of advertising or press leading up to it (a couple reviews of Attagirl in the local papers was about it). It may have been a while since they’ve been college radio sweethearts or even remotely hip, but it’s good to see the band continue to make great music and find an appreciative audience for it.

Openers Walker’s Line are named after a street in Burlington (Toronto suburb, the burg that gave us Finger Eleven) and they sound like a band from Burlington. Very “alternative/emo” in the radio genre sense, not my bag at all. I don’t think they had any idea who they were opening for (“There’s a great band coming up next!”). Sometimes I wonder what the people who put these bills together are thinking… maybe it was sort of a joke? Alternative in the 90s vs alternative in the 00s? Who knows.

I’ll have my photos up tomorrow – thank God for good lighting – but in the meantime, some additional Bettie Serveert goodies. You can download the title track from Attagirl courtesy of Minty Fresh, watch the video for “Dreamaniacs”, also from the new album, and find out why Vancouver native Carol still identifies as a Canadian.

TTIKTDA has a couple tracks from the new House Of Love album, Days Run Away, available to preview. Still not really digging the first single “I Think I Love You Too Much”, but “Gotta Be That Way” is a little better. If these tracks are representative of the album as a whole, we could be looking at a more intimate record along the lines of Guy Chadwick’s solo work than the widescreen epic-ness of the first couple HoL records. The album is out in the UK on February 28.

Dig into some Guided By Voices bootleg material here. It’s on their old label’s website so I assume it all kosher. Via Golden Fiddle.

Wilco are celebrating Yankee Hotel Foxtrot going gold by holding a contest for one of the gold record plaques. How nice. Enter here. Wilco are great. They’re the future of music, you know. Wired says so. And Jeff Tweedy don’t care much ’bout no Grammy-winning, no sir. Via Largehearted Boy.

Pollstar puts The Raveonettes, Autolux (yeah, them again) and Sweden’s The Peels at Lee’s Palace on June 4. I’m beginning to suspect they automatically put Autolux on EVERY bill that comes through town.

Watchmen. It’s actually happening. They’ve got a website.

To all the sick fucks out there with Nielsen boxes (do they still have Nielsen boxes?) who are not watching Arrested Development – what the hell is wrong with you? I mean, seriously? Hollywood Reporter says that Fox has reduced their episode order of AD and come May 1, it will be replaced in the schedule with American Dad for a few weeks at least. BOO. The CBC fears that if AD fails to convince the network to keep it on the air, it will pretty much sound the death knell for decent programming (at least of the sitcom variety) anywhere but cable (via 10:51AM). Creator Mitchell Hurwitz tells the Onion AV Club they’re doing okay ratings-wise, but I’m not convinced. Update: The news gets worse and worse. Or not quite so worse? Update 2: Saveourbluths.com. Talk amongst yourselves.

Hey, Salon.com likes me! Neato.

np – Slowdive / Just For A Day

By : Frank Yang at 9:17 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Torr says:

    the 2 HoL tracks seem to be dead links.

  2. Frank says:

    no, you just can’t right-click them and save as. if you left-click, the link should work.

  3. sam says:

    actually, brian grazer, ron howard and mitchell were on charlie rose and all expressed extreme confidence in the creative heads over at fox and said they understood the show. i’m not worried about it.

  4. Frank says:

    Pfft. Ron Howard. What does THAT guy know? Now if it came from Henry Winkler, then I could rest easy. The Fonz knows the score.

    I hope you’re right, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to NEVER trust a TV network to do the right thing. David Cross was probably more right than not when predicting "America’s Cutest Retards" on the programming schedule in the near future. This is the same network that ditched "Wonderfalls" for "The Swan". Nuff said.

  5. mr g says:

    you said it right, frank.

    thanks for the onion link, btw.

  6. Uncle Grambo says:

    holy crapballs … thanks for the deets on the HoL and Bettie Serveert! Chrome Waves, always tigs in my book.

  7. Torr says:

    That’s annoying that I can’t right click to tell it where to save the file. Cause how can I find where it saved the file to in Firefox if I can’t right click? That’s always been the biggest peev I’ve had with firefox.

  8. Frank says:

    yeah, mozilla does the same thing – I used IE to save those files. I don’t know how to force mozilla to ask me where to save mp3s files. it asks me for other types of files, but not mp3s.

  9. Robert says:

    Your Web site is great. I humbly mention my own blog (not update nearly as often or featuring quite so much content), undergroundbee.com. I posted some photos from Bettie Serveert’s show in Chicago and included a link to the chromewaves photos. You managed to get better photos of Peter Visser… I was simply too distracted by Carol to take many pictures of anyone else, plus Visser was moving too fast for my darn camera to capture him in action most of the time.