Update #2 Helmond, Herenthout, Liege, Essen, Odense

Greetings from a rainy drive to Leipzig, Germany!

Van Goat with Kurt and a friend at Lokaal42 in Helmond

Van Goat with Kurt and a friend at Lokaal42 in Helmond

The last few days have shown us some of the real ups and down of life on the road. Our bodies and minds have been put to the test, but we’ve met some amazing people along the way and received too many warm receptions to count.

Lindsay and the foosball table

Lindsay and the foosball table

Our first show outside of Belgium was in the city of Helmond, in The Netherlands. We were greeted by another warm welcome - this time by the owners Lydia and Jurr. The venue Lokaal 42 was another shotgun style bar - narrow and deep, with old wood, brick and low lighting. To our surprise, there were quite a few people patronizing the venue and the number multiplied when we played our two sets. The energy in the room was wild, especially considering we went on at 5pm on a Sunday afternoon! The sound engineer, Renée gave us a warm hearted ass kicking at foosball after the show. We slept in a spacious apartment upstairs after, but not before a raucous night on the town. A few of us called it an ‘early’ night at 2am. 

Derek at the AH on Helmond

Derek at the AH on Helmond

Next up was a Monday night in Herenthout at a bar called The Titanic; per usual, we didn’t know what to expect. Jannik, the bar owner there, told us they specifically host music on Monday nights because most other bars won’t do it - which meant there was actually a really good sized crowd waiting for us by the time we started playing. We continue to be surprised and immensely grateful for our new fans and friends. We were also treated to what may have been the best pasta dish any of us have ever had, thanks to Jannik’s aunt Tilley. Sign up to our newsletter and we just might send you the recipe ;)

Ben’s a horse guy now

Ben’s a horse guy now

After Herenthout, we stayed at Hans’ place (our home away from home) for one last night of bumper pool before heading to French-speaking Liège, to play an outdoor event during the town’s mid-August festival. Liége is a medieval yet modern city in central/eastern Belgium, with magnificent views, old streets, a citadel nestled up high in the hillside, cathedrals, world famous waffle shops and wild nightlife. Our show, part of the first night of festivities for the 15 De Aout festival, was in the courtyard of the hostel we stayed at and the stage was HUGE! It is damn fun to have some room to run around. Crazy light show, crazy energy, and crazy fun. The MC/harmonica player, Fa (short for Fabian) joined us on Willie the Weeper and added some unbelieveable harp (harmonica) playing. 

The view from the hill in Liège

The view from the hill in Liège

Next was Essen in the north, for one last Flemish show before leaving Belgium. They had a very tasty BBQ for everyone who came out. A bluegrass band, also on tour from the US, started the night off before we hit the stage. Once we started playing, Deet, the bar owner started twirling ladies around and some serious swing dancing broke out all over the bar. Another rowdy weeknight show to say the least!

public.jpeg

After the show, we loaded the van and our intrepid tour manager Kurt took us through a nine hour night drive to Denmark. We checked into our hotels at 10am and took some much needed naps. Tour life really does take a toll. We’ve found that small things like hotel beds, salads, and an hour or two of free time are luxuries. 

Taylor on Stage in Odense

Taylor on Stage in Odense



Odense, another town with deep history, was wet and rainy most of the day and night. Our show was on another huge outdoor stage with a tall built-in roof covering (most) of us and some of the audience. All of the staff did a super job making sure our gear didn’t get wet and no one got electrocuted! Whew. Despite the rain, a small but mighty crowd formed around the stage. We’ve been trying out a few new things during our sets and to our delight, the crowd was clapping along during a new interlude. People’s willingness to engage with us in every new town continues to be one of the best parts of our journey.

The band w/ Hans and Karine at Cafe Pallieter

The band w/ Hans and Karine at Cafe Pallieter

That’s all for now. Leipzig, Viechtach, Livigno, and Tübingen are up next.

Photo of Van Goat in Odense by Ole Steen Petersen

Photo of Van Goat in Odense by Ole Steen Petersen

Update #1 Herselt, Westerlo, Bottelare

Hello everyone! Wanted to use this space to give updates and a little run-down of The Van Goat Summer 2019 European Tour. 

At the Hostel in Westerlo, Belgium

At the Hostel in Westerlo, Belgium

First, we must start with an introduction. Our Captain Ahab, Kurt - owner of Rootstown Booking, tour manager, driver, snappy dresser. He has helmed the van through narrow, serpentine European streets with tact, and remains our professional yet warm guide. 

The band convened in Brussels, Belgium Wednesday evening. Ben, Lindsay and Derek have been in Europe for a week or so, Taylor and Aidan arrived the day before our tour. Spirits were high and Jupilers (a crisp local Pilsner) were drunk.

Kurt in his new Van Goat t-shirt, designed by Cody Blocker

Kurt in his new Van Goat t-shirt, designed by Cody Blocker

Our first show was in Herselt, a town of 13,000 or so people. Cafe Pallieter, which is just off the main drag, is run by a magnanimous Belgian called Hans, who was kind enough to let crash in some pretty luscious digs upstairs. Taylor is planning on moving in after tour (sorry Liz). The crowd was very attentive and responsive during our set, and afterwards we were chatted up with stories of Belgian history, off-color turns of phrase, beer recommendations (Hapkin, Karmeleit, and Rodenbach), and an endless game of bumper pool.

68421376_10156544769601662_1265357516418580480_n.jpg

Next we had a short drive to Westerlo, which has perhaps the most beautiful town hall in all of Europe - our hostel was just down the street from it. Brick buildings line the streets, and the venue Jake’s Place has sort of a subterranean surf club vibe. We played outside, which was a welcome change because of the summer heat and humidity. The owner, Lorenz, showed us amazing hospitality and outrageously tasty fries. He and many other Belgians we’ve met are CERTAIN that fries are a Belgian creation, not French.  He even showed us a shortcut on our rural and dark walk home, making sure we didn’t fall into a concrete ditch obscured by trees. 

That’s Lorenz

That’s Lorenz

The third show of the tour was a classic car festival called “Old Cars Rocking People,” which definitely has been the highlight so far. It was sort of a cross between a slick psychobilly ball, Burger Boogaloo, and Bob’s Big Boy on a Saturday night. The cars were awesome - the staff was too. We played with Stray Kitten and the Alleycats, The Courettes, who brought ridiculous energy to the stage, as well as two of Kurt’s other bands - The Jetsons, Everyone is Guilty. Check them all out!

850A5826.jpg

It has been foreign yet surprisingly familiar here. People have been unwaveringly kind to us and seem to match our excitement and curiosity. After many Duvels, Jupilers, pizza slices and good ol’ fashion swing dances, day three went down in the history books. 

More soon! ♡ VG