K's Choice 311.
(photo credit: Sarah Weinberg)
When Belgian singer/songwriter/guitarist Sarah Bettens told a cheering Tel Aviv
audience on Monday night that “Israel really is the best crowd in the world,” it
was clear that the admiration was mutual. And the Split Enz cover that she and
fellow K’s Choice members – her brother, Gert Bettens, and keyboardist Reinout
Swinnen – launched straight into afterwards didn’t hurt either.
no fanfare, no pomp or ceremony, and no opener to the acoustic concert, with
supporters filing quietly into the wood-panelled Gesher Theater to light tunes
filtering through the theater’s sound system. The three walked onto the stage to
applause, sat down in a row, and opened with “Killing Dragons” from their 2010
album Echo Mountain, arranged with haunting harmonies and soft, deliberate
accompaniments which continued throughout the show.
With dim lighting,
usually just a colored glow on the simple backdrop and a muted spotlight on each
artist, the trio delivered an intimate show, peppered by rearranged versions of
both old and new K’s Choice pieces, as well as a slew of well-received
A definite highlight, and one of the more upbeat pieces, was a
cover of The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m so excited,” just before
intermission. Picking up a ukulele, Sarah told the crowd, “I’ve loved
this song since I was 10.” The audience also lapped up a cover of Radiohead’s
“No Surprises,” a favorite among Israelis.
While Sarah’s deep, clear,
signature voice pulled the show together, her partners had the chance to show
off their musical versatility as well. Gert switched constantly and impressively
between acoustic guitars, a mandolin, a lap steel, a harmonica and various
percussion instruments, often simultaneously. Swinnen, too, paused on his light
keyboard melodies to play a glockenspiel during a Damien Rice cover,
From soulful three-part harmonies to more upbeat,
foot-stamping, almost country arrangements, the show was an obvious success,
evidenced by the three standing ovations. After a couple of solo pieces and a
hummus joke during the second encore, Sarah told the crowd, “Okay, this is
really the last time we’re coming back on!” Having played four previous concerts
in Tel Aviv in the past 14 years, it was clear that K’s Choice, in whatever
form, will receive a warm welcome next time round, too.