Thursday, March 24, 2011
K’s Choice shuns boycott calls, rocks Tel Aviv again
Belgian band back in Israel for two shows despite boycott calls, says local crowd ‘best in world’
Making a statement: For the second time in four months, Belgian band K’s Choice traveled to Israel for two shows, despite boycott calls.
Back in May, the band’s bass player Eric Grossman referred to English singer Elvis Costello as a "douchebag" for calling off his concerts in Israel. Grossman wrote on his Facebook page: "Well done. You're an idiot. Ditto to Santana, Bono, and all the other self important ego-maniacs, who think the Israeli people don't deserve their presence."
Playing to a sold-out crowd in Tel Aviv Tuesday night, Singer Sarah Bettens said the band resisted calls to boycott the latest shows, and vowed to return to Israel in the future. The concert featured several unique moments highlighting the band’s great affection for its Israeli fans.
Bettens opened the show by declaring that band members enjoyed their May trip to Israel so much they immediately decided to return this time. In a sign of things to come, she wished the crowd “Shana Tova” in Hebrew, drawing great cheers.
Later on, Bettens declared that the local audience was “the best crowd in the world.”
“You probably think I say this wherever we perform, so to prove it I will post it on our Facebook page tonight,” she said.
Bettens explicitly addressed the boycott issue later in the show, making a brief statement during an interlude between songs.
“We were asked to boycott this show, but we’re a band, and we’re here to play for our fans,” she said, drawing more cheers. She later said the band will “definitely” be back in Israel. Bettens and other band members seemed to be in high spirits, maintaining a warm interaction with the audience throughout the night.
In another special moment during the show, Bettens told the crowd the band’s soundman was celebrating his birthday Tuesday. She then asked the audience to sing a birthday song for him, in Hebrew, prompting the entire venue to erupt in song for what must have been a once-in-lifetime experience for the surprised soundman.
In another gesture to the local crowd, the band performed special acoustic renditions of its songs in the first half of the concert, before picking up the electric guitars in the second half. The enthusiastic fans on hand were also treated to two encores at the end of the show.
K’s Choice was formed in the mid-1990s and went on to tour extensively in Europe and in the US, producing both gold and platinum albums.