St. Louis will once again get to experience that highly combustible energy on October 22nd, when the band returns to Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room for the first time since 2006.
Best known for its wooden clogs, countryside windmills and ultra-liberal laws about recreational drug use, Holland has produced only a small number of well-known, successful rock bands. Near the top of that short list is Amsterdam band Bettie Serveert. The band celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, with three-fifths of their original line-up still intact.
Named after an instructional manual on tennis written by a famous late-1970s Dutch tennis pro, Bettie Serveert was initially a collaboration of five good friends, all employed in the arts, who were simply seeking an additional creative outlet. After a few very well-received gigs throughout their native Holland, the band’s manager sent a demo tape to the then newly-formed American indie label Matador, who signed them immediately. Following the huge success of their debut album Palomine in 1992, Bettie Serveert spent a few years touring the United States alongside acts like Belly, Superchunk, Buffalo Tom and Counting Crows.
Throughout the rest of the ‘90s, the band continued to record and tour, obtaining a steady stream of critical praise and building worldwide popularity along the way. One of their songs was included on the hit television series My So Called Life, and they covered a Bob Dylan song for the I Shot Andy Warhol film soundtrack. Paying homage to one of the bands that influenced them the most, they recorded an album of Velvet Underground covers, which has been their only live release so far. Some of the other bands that Bettie Serveert cite as influential to their sound include The Pretenders, R.E.M. and The Byrds. Listening to them play, it’s quite apparent that lead guitarist Peter Visser is a huge fan of Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis and late-1970s era Neil Young. Lead vocalist Carol van Dyk has sometimes been referred to as a modern-day Debbie Harry.
Approximately four years passed between the band’s last release, the CD/DVD Bare Stripped Naked and their latest, ninth studio effort, Pharmacy Of Love, which came out this past March. According to an online source, this album has a “back to basics” approach and is their “loudest CD so far,” recreating the raw, unbridled energy that the band has become well known for onstage. St. Louis will once again get to experience that highly combustible energy on October 22nd, when the band returns to Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room for the first time since 2006. | Michele Ulsohn
Bettie Serveert and Salvation will be playing Fri, Oct 22nd at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room. Doors are at 8 p.m., the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12. For information, contact Blueberry Hill at (314) 727-4444.